Department of Defense to reinstate Inland Waterways Users Board 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has agreed to restart the Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB) after ordering a “zero-based review” of all advisory committees at the start of 2021.

In the Jan. 30 memo, Austin said the review was ordered “to ensure each advisory committee provides appropriate value...” The review also served to remove hundreds of last-minute selections by the previous administration, noted Defense News.

According to DoD officials, the review board has presented its recommendations and the secretary has approved 16 advisory committees for resumption of operations. The department ordered the evaluation of more than 40 federal advisory groups and recommendations for other boards are still under consideration. 

In an April 7 letter to DoD leaders advocating for the reinstatement of the IWUB, NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert noted that the U.S. inland waterways system is financed in part by a diesel fuel tax that commercial users pay, deposited into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. “The users who help pay for the maintenance and modernization of this system should continue to have their voice heard through the IWUB,” he noted.

IWUB operations will resume once new members are approved. The NGFA continues to be in communication with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and our contacts remain hopeful that the IWUB will be able to meet by the end of the year.