"The White House is rewriting standards for federal water projects, widening 26-year-old rules that guide the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to consider environmental and social goals as well as economic ones.
The move, long sought by environmentalists, pre-empts an Army Corps effort to rework its guidelines under a 2007 mandate from Congress to go beyond economic considerations in planning water projects.
"The administration is considering expanding the scope of the principles and guidelines to cover all federal agencies that undertake water resource projects," said Christine Glunz, spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The council revealed the initiative in a recent Federal Register notice.
The planning guidelines were developed in 1983 by the U.S. Water Resources Council, an inter-agency group that disbanded soon after. They apply to the Army Corps, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority."