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Corps Chicago Office and ARCS Funds


	Our intrepid House Great Lakes Task Force Coordinator achieved the 
inclusion of the following colloquy on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

McDade-LaTourette Colloquy on the Army Corps of Engineers Division
Reorganization Plan  - conducted late evening Thursday, July 24, during
the general debate on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which
passed on the House floor the next day.

>From the Congressional Record:

Mr. LaTourette.  Mr. Chairman, I rise to engage the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, Mr. McDade, an acknowledged friend and supporter of Great
Lakes priorities, in a colloquy regarding the Army Corps of Engineers
Division Reorganization Plan and the recently authorized Sediment
Remediation Technology Demonstration project.  

	Mr. Chairman, it has recently come to my attention that the Army Corps
of Engineers is planning to restructure its Great Lakes and Ohio River
Division by first severely reducing the number of employees,
particularly those with decision-making authority, at its Chicago Office
and eventually closing down that facility.  This plan is documented in
an internal Army Corps memo that I will submit for the Record at the
appropriate time.  This plan would leave the Great Lakes region with
only one office, in Cincinnati, and would obliterate the institutional
memory that is so vital to Army Corps operations in this region.  

	Last year, when this Congress passed the Energy and Water Development
Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1997, the Army Corps was directed to
reduce its divisions to no less than six and no more than eight.  The
Department of the Army's Office of Civil Works submitted a plan to the
Congress which detailed the restructuring plan, approved by the
Secretary.  Again, I will submit this document for the Record at the
appropriate time.  

	The plan stated that, "the Great Lakes districts of the North Central
Division will be combined with the districts of the Ohio River Division
to form the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.  Division headquarters
will remain in both Chicago and Cincinnati, each with a regional deputy
commander and SES."

	Mr. Chairman, do you agree with me that it is imperative that we
exercise congressional oversight authority over the reorganization plan?

	I will yield to the chairman

Mr. McDade.	I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I want to say to him
that that we ramain interested in the Corps of Engineers division office
reorganization plan. We will continue to monitor it, and we appreciate
the gentleman bringing his concern to our attention.
Mr. LaTourette.  If the gentleman will yield further, I thank the
gentleman for his willingness to work on that issue.  

	The second issue I would like to address is the Army Corps' Sediment
Remediation Technology program, also known as ARCS 2, which was
authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996.  This program
is important to my district and Members' districts throughout the Great
Lakes because of the huge quantity of contaminated sediments in the
Lakes.  Contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes are the largest
repository of toxic pollution in the basin and pose a threat to human
health as these toxins are slowly released into the water, where they
can enter into the food chain through fish and birds. 

	The sediments, primarily in harbors, collect many pollutants that have
been entering the Great Lakes for decades. A total of 362 contaminants
have been identified in the Great Lakes sediments, many of which are
known to have potentially severe human health impacts.

	The current Energy and Water Appropriations bill does not include
language regarding the ARCS 2 account.  Pilot and laboratory-scale
projects for the assessment and remediation of contaminated sediments
were conducted under the Assessment of Remediation of Contaminated
Sediments authority in the Clean Water Act.  Section 515 of the WRDA
bill of 1996 builds upon the old ARCS program by directing the Army
Corps of Engineers to conduct full-scale demonstration projects of
promising sediment remediation technology. Such full-scale projects are
an essential next step in moving the clean-up process from the planning
to the implementation phase.

	Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, it is within your jurisdiction to see
that this issue is addressed in the conference on the energy and water
bill in the Senate.  I would request on behalf of my colleagues in the
Great Lakes region that you support the inclusion of language that would
allow the Army Corps to move forward with this important sediment
remediation program in fiscal year 1998.

	I would further yield to the chair.

Mr. McDade. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I appreciate my
colleague bringing this matter to our attention.  I look forward to
working on this issue as the bill moves through the appropriations

Mr. LaTourette.  If the gentleman will yield further, Mr. Chairman, I
wish to thank him for his wisdom and continued support of issues
important to myself and those in the Great Lakes region.  I look forward
to working with him further on this and other matters.  I thank him for
his courtesy.

	Questions? Please contact Sara Gottlieb, at the below address.

Sara J. Gottlieb
House Great Lakes Task Force Staff
Office of the Honorable Steven LaTourette
1239 Longworth HOB
phone: (202) 225-5731
FAX: (202) 225-3307