Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allocate additional funding to dredge Oregon and Hatteras Inlets. In a letter sent to Corps leadership, Congressman Jones highlighted the navigation conditions at both inlets. He also pointed out that the amounts provided in the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget request – $4,790,000 for Oregon Inlet and $1,000,000 for Hatteras Inlet – may not be sufficient to keep the channels maintained at their authorized depths.
“Maintaining Oregon and Hatteras Inlets is essential to the economic and transportation needs of not only Dare and Hyde counties, but much of Eastern North Carolina,” said Congressman Jones. “These waterways serve our fishermen, Coast Guard, recreational boaters, and much more.”
While Congress no longer has the ability to legislatively increase funding for specific projects because of an earmark ban imposed in 2011, Congress did attempt to address some of the waterway maintenance issues across the nation in recently-passed legislation (H.R. 1625). In that bill, Congress created several unallocated pots of money for different project categories, and gave the Corps discretion in determining which projects to fund from these pots. In his letter, Congressman Jones made the case that Oregon and Hatteras Inlets are exactly the type of project that Congress had in mind when it provided the Corps with these additional pots of money.
The full letter to Asst. Sec. James, Lt. Gen. Semonite, Brig. Gen. Holland, and Col. Clark can be read here,