Senate leaders yesterday blocked a proposal to reform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by requiring independent reviews of its projects, and instead got behind a plan to have the National Academy of Sciences assess whether or not the Corps’s own review process is actually flawed. A recent series in the Washington Post examined a number of cases in which Corps officials tampered with internal reviews and gave short shrift to environmental concerns in order to justify water projects supported by powerful politicians. After yesterday’s deal making, Scott Faber of American Rivers said, “Despite overwhelming evidence of abuse in Corps studies, senators would rather protect their cozy relationships with the Corps than protect taxpayers or the environment.” This spring, the White House issued a draft order that would have forced the Corps to adopt higher environmental standards, but withdrew it a week later under fire from Senate Republicans. The administration says it is now considering reviving the order.