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Public Statements

Mikulski Votes Against Attack on Beach Replenishment

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today voted against legislation attacking critical beach replenishment projects, which would have had a detrimental impact on the safety and economic security of Maryland's Eastern Shore. The Senate voted 53-43 to block the legislation, introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) as an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act.

"In my state of Maryland, we have a very successful beach renourishment project along the Atlantic Coast in Ocean City. Ocean City is the beach destination for many in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The purpose of this Army Corps of Engineers project is not to protect a recreational beach, but to provide hurricane protection for citizens and for the billions of dollars in public and private infrastructure," Senator Mikulski said. "Since its completion, the project has repeatedly demonstrated its value by preventing more than $240 million in damages. Most recently, this project successfully protected the residents of Ocean City and Worcester County from Super Storm Sandy. The project protected billions of dollars in public and private infrastructure and jobs. This is a small investment considering the billions it would take to rebuild Ocean City's homes, businesses and hotels along the Atlantic Ocean."

The amendment proposed by Senator Coburn would have blocked an additional 15-year extension of federal support for beach replenishment programs, including the Atlantic Coast of Maryland Storm Protection Project. This project protects residents, small businesses and the tourist economies of Ocean City, Worcester County and Eastern Shore communities by helping prevent coastal flooding and erosion. As Maryland and the nation grapple with severe weather events, including Super Storm Sandy, beach replenishment programs protect jobs along with billions of dollars in public and private infrastructure.

Senator Mikulski's statement submitted to the Congressional Record follows:

"I rise in strong opposition to Senator Coburn's amendment on beach renourishment. The Water Resources Development Act extends Federal funding for beach renourishment projects from fifty to sixty-five years. Senator Coburn's amendment would strike the new fifteen year extension.

"In my state of Maryland, we have a very successful beach renourishment project along the Atlantic Coast in Ocean City. Ocean City is the beach destination for many in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The purpose of this Army Corps of Engineers project is not to protect a recreational beach, but to provide hurricane protection for citizens and for the billions of dollars in public and private infrastructure.

"Following severe storms in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ocean City's beach was severally eroded threatening the homes and private businesses along the coastline and on the mainland. This is when the State of Maryland and the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Atlantic Coast of Maryland Hurricane Shoreline Protection Project to provide an essential buffer that saves lives and protects communities.
"The Army Corps of Engineers built a steel sheet pile bulkhead along the boardwalk. They placed sand along the coastline to widen and raise the beach and constructed a vegetated sand dune. Every four years, the Army Corps of Engineers must reinforce the beach barrier by replenishing sand.

"Since its completion, the project has repeatedly demonstrated its value by preventing more than $240 million in damages. Most recently, this project successfully protected the residents of Ocean City and Worcester County from Super Storm Sandy. The project protected billions of dollars in public and private infrastructure and jobs.

"Approximately $48 million of Federal funding has gone toward this project. This is a small investment considering the billions it would take to rebuild Ocean City's homes, businesses and hotels along the Atlantic Ocean. I urge my colleagues to oppose Senator Coburn's amendment."


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