Hearings - Statement
 
Statement of Benjamin L. Cardin
Hearing: Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing on Water Resources Needs and the President’s Budget Proposal for the Army Corps of Engineers for Fiscal Year 2008
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mister Chairman:

Thank you for holding this hearing today.

 

I represent a state which relies heavily upon the Army Corps of Engineers’ water resource programs.       

 

Maryland has 31 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, which are the site of two critical Corps projects – a hurricane protection project at our premier beach resort community, Ocean City, and a mitigation project at Assateague Island National Seashore.

 

The Chesapeake Bay is America’s largest estuary.  The Corps’ oyster and habitat restoration, shoreline protection, and sediment management programs are integral to our efforts to restore the Bay.    

 

We have a geography and topography which makes the Chesapeake Bay particularly susceptible to erosion. This erosion contributes millions of cubic yards of sediment annually to the bay, adversely affecting water quality and clogging navigation channels.

 

The Port of Baltimore is one of the largest ports on the east coast and a vital engine of economic activity, contributing $2 billion to the State’s economy and employing 18,000 Marylander’s directly and tens of thousands more indirectly.

 

There are 126 miles of shipping channels leading to the Port of Baltimore. Maryland also has more than 70 small navigation projects around the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.  These navigation projects are critical to commercial and recreational fisherman, to local and regional commerce and to local economies. 

 

We rely heavily on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood protection in communities in Western Maryland and for water supply.  

 

In short, the Corps of Engineers has projects and provides assistance to virtually every jurisdiction in the State of Maryland

 

This partnership would not exist but for the authorities and funding provided in previous Water Resources Development Acts. 

 

Our efforts in Maryland focus on four principal areas:

 

  • maintaining the navigational channels serving the Port of Baltimore and numerous communities in our state, and finding responsible and environmentally sound solutions for disposing of the dredged material from these channels, 

 

  • restoring the Chesapeake Bay and  the rivers and streams which flow into the Bay, 

 

  • addressing the shoreline erosion problems on Maryland’s Atlantic Coast , and

 

  • mitigating for previous construction of civil works such as the rewatering of the C&O Canal in Cumberland. 

 

Because of the cuts in the President’s budget for the Army Corps of Engineer’s civil works program in recent years and the failure to reach an agreement on the reauthorization of WRDA, many of these priorities are at risk.    

 

The President’s budget for fiscal 2008 once again cuts essential Corps’ programs and projects.  It terminates federal support for the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster restoration project and environmental protection programs; it zeroes out the periodic re-nourishment required for the hurricane protection project at Ocean city; it provides no continued funding for the flood mitigation project at Cumberland; and it significantly reduces funding for many small navigation projects. 

 

                 We need a WRDA and a budget that will help move forward on all these fronts and address critical water resource infrastructure needs in Maryland.  

 

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