ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 24, 2006)
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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman from Ohio for yielding to me.
I wanted to speak tonight, Mr. Chairman, about the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, which stretches 161 miles from the South Carolina border to the Florida border going through the 1st District of Georgia; and if one measures the number of miles by the coastline, it is probably five or six times that.
I live by the Intercoastal Waterway. I have a boat. My friends have boats. My constituents have boats. The water is filling in, and it is a big problem in terms of recreational boating.
My concern is that the Office of Management and Budget, the OMB, in their formula does not consider the economic impact of a recreational boater when deciding if a waterway should be dredged or not.
In Georgia, for example, the last time we had serious dredging of the Intercoastal Waterway was in 2002. We have asked for $2.5 million for dredging for Georgia 2 years in a row, and because of the tight constraints, the committee has not been able to do that.
It has been the same way with the Senate. They are trying to work on something, too.
Senator Saxby Chambliss and Senator Johnny Isakson and I are all in agreement that this needs to be addressed, but when the Office of Management and Budget is looking at the commercial traffic ranks of the Intercoastal Waterway, they only consider the big tonnage, the commercial shipping. They do not consider the light loading, the recreational boater.
The recreational boater is the guy who goes out there, pulls his children on skis, has a camera, has a cooler, packs a bag of baloney sandwiches, has a lot of Coca-Cola, which in another part of the country he is probably carrying Pepsi, and spends a lot of money on the local economy, a significant amount of money. One marina alone told me that their receipts will be in excess of $500,000. If the Intercoastal Waterway was closed up, then that marina will be gone. Those five to twelve jobs that they have will be gone. The money that his clients bring into the area, buying parts for their boats and related recreational equipment in skis and fishing poles and so forth, that will be gone as well.
We need to get the Office of Management and Budget to change their funding formula so that they will consider the economic impact of the recreational boater just as high or along the same line or with the same yardstick as they do commercial boaters.
I had an amendment to that effect. I have not offered the amendment because this committee has worked so closely with us on a lot of issues. I know that the staff was not exactly appreciative if we were going to try to authorize something on an appropriation bill. It was not appropriate. So I am not offering that amendment, but I know the staff has been very sympathetic to this issue, as have you, Mr. Chairman, and I just wanted to thank you, but say that, along the line, we are not going to let this issue go.
We need to have the Office of Management and Budget change their funding formula, and I intend to pursue legislation on that, and I just wanted to thank you for all the support you have given us on some of the other dredging issues and wanted to make this point, though, on the record.
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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, well, I had an opportunity to speak to Mr. Portman a few minutes ago and just pled the case real briefly with the promise of a follow-up phone call.
I do want to thank you for all the harbor dredging that you have helped us with, Mr. Visclosky has helped us with. The staff has gone above and beyond the call of duty on that. You guys have been magnificent, but we also have this intercoastal problem with the recreational boaters that is a tremendous issue in our area.
So we want to continue to work with you, and I really appreciate everything you have done.
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