Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The McCain-Feingold amendment to the Water Resources Development Act requires external reviews of large engineering projects planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on projects costing $40 million or more. State governors or federal agency heads may also seek external review. An panel of 5 - 9 experts chosen by the Secretary of the Army would evaluate engineering, economic and environmental assumptions, and other aspects of Corps construction projects. As previous posts indicated, independent investigations of the New Orleans levees identified design and construction problems that might have been avoided with expert external review. GAO determined in March that four recent Corps proposals were "fraught with errors, mistakes, and miscalculations and used invalid assumptions and outdated data." 2006 GAO review of Corps planning The Senate bill (S. 728) must now be reconciled with the House bill (H.R. 2864).