Today, Representative Mike McIntyre sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking them to allocate federal funds to critical coastal projects in Southeastern North Carolina.
Congressman McIntyre stated, "We are going to do all that we can to help the Wilmington Port and our coastal communities. The Port and the coast of North Carolina is an economic engine, and it is important that the necessary dredging be done to ensure their continued vitality."
In his letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, McIntyre wrote,
As you continue your work on prioritizing the funding for operations and maintenance for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, I would like to draw your attention to some of the critical needs in Southeastern North Carolina:
* It is important to include sufficient resources to provide sufficient dredging for the Wilmington Harbor Project, including the Inner Ocean Bar section. This work is vital to ensure public safety and the economic viability of the Port of Wilmington. As a part of that effort, it is also important to renourish the sand on Bald Head Island. Due to budgetary restraints, a previously agreed upon schedule for a Sand Management Plan has not yet been met. The erosion on Bald Head Island is significant. Another year without renourishment could be devastating to the residents of the island. It could also jeopardize the habitat of threatened or endangered species. To highlight the extreme erosion currently taking place on Bald Head Island I have included some recent photographs of the erosion on the island.
* The shallow draft inlets in North Carolina are of regional and national significance. As you are aware, the Wilmington District is home to the only Army Corps owned shallow dredges on the East Coast of the United States. If these inlets are not funded, then the Wilmington District will face the real possibility of having to idle these dredges in the future. The idling of these dredges could put the entire East Coast at risk in the future. Also, the three U.S. Coast Guard stations and local law enforcement and EMS units in the immediate area could not properly perform their duties regarding public safety if the inlets and waterway are not dredged.
* The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway runs along the entire coast of North Carolina. While I understand there are debates over the role for who should maintain the waterway, at the present the commitment is strongly needed from the Federal government. First, the State of North Carolina has long shown itself a responsible partner in its willingness to match Federal funding. Second, I have held numerous meetings with colleagues in Congress and with stakeholders in the waterway on the future and future funding of the waterway. However, in the meantime the Federal government is responsible for maintaining the waterway to a proper depth. Failure to do so puts commercial and recreational activity, as well as public safety at risk.
At his annual congressional coastal meeting two weeks ago, McIntyre introduced his "7th District Coastal Compact" which will focus on efforts to meet the challenges of coastal projects in Southeastern North Carolina.
Representative McIntyre is founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Waterways Caucus, a bi-partisan coalition of Members of Congress to help preserve important waterways in the U.S.