Today, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted two amendments offered by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA, H.R. 3080). Both amendments are designed to specifically support Ventura County's ports and harbors. In order to highlight the importance of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to maintaining our local ports and harbors, Rep. Brownley offered an amendment that would require the Government Accountability Office to generate a report detailing the jobs created, both directly and indirectly, by Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund projects at small and medium sized ports and harbors.
"I came to Congress to move Ventura County forward by strengthening our economy and creating more and better paying jobs for Ventura County families. Ensuring adequate dredging and maintenance of our ports and harbors is a critical component of our regional economic success and prospects for job creation. I'm proud to have been able to work with my colleagues to get this critical piece of bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House," said Representative Julia Brownley.
Brownley's second amendment would require the Army Corps of Engineers to consider Navy activities when assessing the operation and maintenance needs of ports and harbors, as well as when considering an equitable distribution of dredging funds.
"As a major donor port, our inability to access the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has been a great frustration. We applaud Congresswoman Brownley for taking an active role in getting that money out to the Ports so it can go to work in the communities we serve," said Oxnard Harbor District President Jason Hodge.
"Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura County, California, is in a very difficult situation, with over 3 Million cubic yards collected in a sand trap designed to hold just over 1 Million yards, nearly closing the northern harbor entrance. At the same time, the City of Port Hueneme, Naval Base Ventura County, and wetlands to the south are desperately in need of that sand and are taking emergency measures to protect their structures. We are appreciative of the efforts made by Congresswoman Brownley, in particular, and of Congress, to assist with this situation," said Director of Channel Islands Harbor Lyn Krieger.
"The fair and equitable allocation of Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds for dredge projects is critical to the California Port System and our ability to be competitive in the global economy. The low and moderate use ports serve as an important catalyst for job creation and economic prosperity. The very essence of this amendment in calling for the assessment of the importance of Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds to low and moderate use ports promises to change the playing field for Ventura County and bring very needed funds to our Port and harbor system," said CEO and Port Director, Kristin Decas.
The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA, H.R. 3080) authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its mission to protect our nation's ports. Full bill text can be found here: LINK