The US House passed a bipartisan bill that allows the Army Corps of Engineers to develop dredging plans around the country. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree pushed for provisions that were included in the bill that will make it easier to get dredging approved for small harbors like those along the Maine Coast.
“Small harbors have significant dredging needs keep them open for fishermen and recreation boaters and they just haven’t gotten the funding they need for a long time. By putting more money into dredging overall and setting aside money specifically for small harbors it will be more likely that these harbors get the attention they need,” Pingree said.
Pingree had pushed for provisions that would increase funding levels for dredging and specifically to set aside a portion of that funding for use in small harbors.
“Harbors like Yarmouth and Wells need dredging just as bigger harbor like Boston or New York,” Pingree said. “But the current formula has meant that small harbors just never make the cut. This bill will change that.”
The bill, H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, passed the House by a vote of 417-3. Pingree voted for the bill.
Pingree also fought to include a provision that deauthorizes a disused navigation channel in Rockland Harbor. The location of the channel was making it difficult for marine business that supplies the local fishing industry to keep a barge tied to a pier that is used to load lobster bait. The channel couldn’t be discontinued without Congressional action.
The bill authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its missions to develop, maintain, and support the Nation’s vital port and waterways infrastructure needs, and support effective and targeted flood protection and environmental restoration needs. Historically, Congress has passed such legislation every two years to provide clear direction to the Administration and the Corps, but no bill has been signed into law since 2007.
Press Release, October 25, 2013