USA: Congressman Praises Harbor Maintenance

Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) yesterday praised provisions of H.R. 4348 – a short-term extension of federal surface transportation programs – that provide a path forward for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project as well as ensure future funding for vital harbor maintenance in southwest Michigan.

Specifically, the extension would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 30 days to approve the Keystone pipeline and would guarantee that all revenues collected through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be fully used for their intended purpose of harbor maintenance. H.R. 4348, which will extend federal highway and rail programs through September, passed the House this afternoon by a bipartisan vote of 293 to 127 and now awaits consideration in the Senate.

As a jobs bill, this goes a long way to provide Michigan families and businesses with the long-term certainty they deserve. It is not only a matter of common sense, it is the right thing to do,” said Upton. “Ensuring our harbors remain open and ready for business is essential to job creation and growth in southwest Michigan. Rather than denying our local harbors these vital dredging dollars – money that is already paid into the system through harbor user fees – we must see to it that our harbors remain bastions of economic growth. As a means of creating jobs and reducing energy prices for folks in Michigan, there is no better opportunity today than the shovel-ready Keystone pipeline project. It is time to stop saying ‘no’ to North American energy and to begin saying ‘yes’ to a pro-growth, pro-jobs energy policy.”

Upton continues to lead the way in the House of Representatives for an “all of the above” energy strategy that encourages North American energy production, creates jobs, and reduces energy costs for struggling Michigan families and businesses. Upton is a leading supporter of the proposed 1,700-mile expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport vital energy resources from Alberta, Canada to refineries here in the United States. Construction of the Keystone project is estimated to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and reduce America’s dependence on overseas oil by nearly 1 million barrels per day.

Upton is a longtime supporter of local harbor maintenance and a cosponsor of the bipartisan Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act (H.R. 104) to ensure that all federal funding is fully used for harbor maintenance and not left unspent as a budgetary offset. Last year, Upton was also a signatory of a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that the RAMP Act be included in the administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013.


Dredging Today Staff, April 19, 2012;