U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have urged Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jo-Ellen Darcy to use at least $2 million of its $273 million harbor and channel projects budget to make up for its request for less money to dredge the Cleveland Harbor.
The Corps requested $3.6 million less than the President’s budget, which will not be sufficient to complete the Port Authority’s dredge management plan for FY 2016.
Brown and Portman’s letter urges the Corps to respect the State’s Water Quality Standards and pay for the cost of disposing of the toxic dredged material responsibly rather than dumping it into Lake Erie.
“The USACE has failed to provide sufficient funding to fully dredge the shipping channel of the Cuyahoga River,” said the Senators in the letter.
“The FY2016 Omnibus bill reduced funding for the Cleveland Harbor dredging project to $5.94 million; this was $3.6 million below the President’s budget request. We are disappointed that the Corps’ request to reduce funding was done without consultation and coordination with the Ohio delegation, the State of Ohio, or the Port of Cleveland.”
Under language in the year-end appropriations bill passed in December 2015, the Corp cannot dump dredged material in Lake Erie without a State Water Quality certificate, which has not been issued.