Officials Call for Pacific Northwest Ports Dredging

Representative Peter DeFazio has joined a letter led by Representative Rick Larsen sent to the Director of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shaun Donovan urging the agency to increase funding for small ports in the Pacific Northwest in their FY 2017 budget proposal.

In the letter, members urge OMB to consider the needs of small coastal waterways in the Northwest as they develop their budget proposal.

“Small ports and harbors are some of our nation’s most valuable assets and critical to maintaining and creating jobs in these states. Commercial trading and fishing and recreational boating at these small ports is critically important to the economic health of Oregon and Washington coastal port communities and to our states, region and nation,” the members write.

In recent years, federal commercial navigation projects on the Pacific Northwest coast have been routinely overlooked and remain critically underfunded.

Even with the mandatory minimum funding allocation for small ports in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), many Northwest “emerging harbors” were left unfunded in the President’s FY 2016 budget proposal.

Without adequate dredging, the navigation channels leading to these ports will silt in and the jetties protecting these communities will crumble. Without safe access to ocean fishing grounds, vessels remain docked and a major economic driver in these small communities is gone.