Call on Army Corps to Work with Coast Guard to Determine and Mark the Safest Channel Through the Inlet and Alleviate Dangerous Conditions
Responding to ever deteriorating conditions at Jones Inlet, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Peter King are calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to act immediately to address serious safety concerns on the waterway.
Senator Clinton and Representative King have consistently called for the Inlet to be dredged to alleviate the safety risk posed by the severe shoaling that has occurred in the channel, but in the interim, they are calling on the Army Corps to work with the Coast Guard to monitor the channel so the best and safest channel can be marked for boaters. In a letter to the Chief of Engineers, Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Clinton and King also asked that a new survey be undertaken to understand the type of boating traffic that is using the waterway.
"The Jones Inlet remains extremely hazardous for commercial and recreational boating and for the surrounding communities. The time to address these concerns is now," said Senator Clinton. "I have repeatedly called upon the Army Corps of Engineers to address this important and immediate issue. I hope the Army Corps is receptive to these concerns and the concerns of the community and addresses the safety risks as soon as possible."
"Since last year, I have been urging the Army Corps and the State of New York to move forward with the dredging of Jones Inlet," said King. "Until that happens, immediate action must be taken to make the navigation of the channel as safe as possible. We cannot let this go another day. It is just too risky."
This request marks the continuation of Senator Clinton and Representative King's efforts to alleviate the dangerous conditions present at the Jones Inlet. In 2005, Senator Clinton and Rep. Peter King called on the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge Jones Inlet as it had not been dredged for over 10 years and had resulted in severe shoaling and a significant safety hazard for both recreational and commercial boating. The erosion of the shoreline along Point Lookout also poses a dangerous threat.
A copy of the Clinton-King letter is below -
May 31, 2007
Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, USA
Chief of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
Washington, D.C. 20310
Dear General Antwerp:
We write to express our concern regarding the dangerous conditions present at the Jones Inlet federal navigation channel. As you are aware, we have written on several occasions to the Army Corps of Engineers on the importance of dredging the Inlet and alleviating the safety risk posed by the severe shoaling that has occurred in the channel.
Given the deteriorating condition of the Inlet, we respectfully ask that you work with the Coast Guard to monitor the channel so the best and safest channel can be marked for boaters. It has been brought to our attention that the buoy placement marking the channel could be updated to better reflect the current state of the Inlet. We are pleased to hear that the Army Corps recently completed a conditional survey of the Inlet. Please coordinate this information, and work accordingly, with the Coast Guard to determine and mark the safest channel through the Inlet.
It is also our understanding that Jones Inlet has been classified by the Army Corps as a non-commercial inlet. Our offices have met with concerned residents of the Point Lookout boating community who feel that the data used to make that determination is outdated, and that a new survey of those using the Inlet would show that the Inlet should in fact be deemed commercial. We ask that in your assessment of the Inlet you consider the potential commercial and recreational use of the inlet if the conditions were not as dangerous as they are currently. These are important issues about the nature of the Inlet and those who use it, and we request the Army Corps explore these factors and provide us with an update on your findings.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Peter T. King