U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, has restarted the Army Corps of Engineers Caucus in Congress in an effort “to increase accountability and transparency,” spokesman Brendan Thomas said last week.
“Many districts across the country would like to see better relations with the corps and solutions to their water problems,” Thomas said.
Collins was spurred largely by the lack of response from the corps to letters he has sent concerning a possible lease agreement between the corps and Hall County involving Bolding Mill Park in northwest Hall County.
“The corps is mired in bureaucracy, stalling needed public works projects, even as it undertakes new construction with questionable merit,” he said in an emailed statement. “We need a more responsive and fiscally responsible agency to better serve growing Northeast Georgia, our state and the country.”
Pat Robbins, spokesman for the corps’ Mobile (Ala.) District, which governs Lake Lanier, said the corps doesn’t comment on issues among members of Congress.
In a letter to fellow lawmakers, Collins said he wanted to relaunch the caucus — he launched the first one in 2013 with the 113th Congress — “to ensure that the Corps serves as a responsible steward of our nation’s financial and environmental resources.”
“While the corps has been vital in strengthening America’s water infrastructure throughout its history, the corps’ recent record demonstrates room for improvement,” his letter states.
Many states “are dealing with a variety of issues related to the corps which impact the everyday lives of citizens,” Collins said.
Georgia has been dealing with corps decisions “on water reallocation and supply for many years, but there are other issues where the corps has a meaningful impact as well.”
Access to fishing and boating, lease agreements on corps properties and relationships with states “are all areas where Congress can work with the corps to establish meaningful reforms,” says Collins’ letter.
So far, in addition to Collins, the caucus has members from Michigan, California and Washington.
“He expects many more to join,” Thomas said.