Several Northwest lawmakers are asking the Obama administration to make maintenance of small harbors a funding priority. They're asking the federal government to stop neglecting small coastal waterways.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cut back its annual dredging projects at ports like Brookings in Oregon, and Ilwaco, Wash.
"For 42 years, they've maintained the channel. They've kept us dredged," said Gary Anderson, who manages Port operations at Port Orford, on Oregon's South Coast. "If they had the funding, I'm sure they'd continue, but it's the economic condition of the country."
Port managers say deferred maintenance compromises safety for fishing boats.
Now, Congressman Peter Defazio has drafted a letter signed by three other officials from Oregon, as well as Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. 20121120 or WA Letter to Pres
They're asking the Obama administration to ensure funding in the 2014 omnibus spending bill. The letter hints this could be accomplished by using harbor maintenance trust fund money that's now helping to pay for deficit relief.
The Army Corps and the Office of Management and Budget will finalize their budgets in February.