The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued what can only be described as the mother of all Requests for Proposal (RFP). Under section 7001 of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 the USACE is to seek proposals for feasibility studies for, or modifications to existing Federal water resources development projects. USACE is to then compile the information into an annual report to be issued in February of each year.

Because this process is new, not much information is known about it, and inquires to various staff at USACE demonstrated that not all USACE staff necessarily understand the purpose of the RFP or the report either. However, it appears that one purpose of the RFP and the report is to find a work-around to the “no earmark rule” in the House of Representatives. Under that rule, Congress may not propose specific projects for study, authorization, or funding, but must instead rely on proposals from the Administration. While the no earmark rule has reduced the amount of “pork” projects being proposed by Congress, water resources projects can become a casualty as these projects have traditionally been approved by name. The RFP process and resulting annual report may create a mechanism for Congress to authorize projects contained within the Administration’s report.

Proposals should be submitted by December 3, 2014 and addressed to Lisa Keifel, CECW-CE, 441 G Street NW, Washington DC 20314-1000. Proposals should include a reference to the name of all non-Federal sponsors, explain whether the proposal is for a study or modification to an authorized USACE project or feasibility study, state the project purpose, provide a cost estimate, describe the monetary or non-monetary benefits to be achieved, describe local support, state whether the non-Federal interest has the capacity to cost share, and submit letters of support.

For more information, see 79. FedReg. 45430.