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Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, 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 50 to 65 years. Senator Coburn's amendment would strike the new 15-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 4 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 Superstorm 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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