October 15, 2009

SENATOR CARDIN PRAISES SENATE PASSAGE OF APPROPRIATIONS BILL TO FUND KEY BAY, PORT OF BALTIMORE AND OTHER MD WATER PROJECTS

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today praised Senate passage of the Energy and Water appropriations conference report that will "fund significant improvements to the Chesapeake Bay and other important water projects that will improve the environment while also providing essential support to the Port of Baltimore, which is one of our State's most important economic engines."
 
The Senate passed legislation that will provide approximately $3.9 million for Chesapeake Bay projects, including $314,000 to begin the restoration of the severely eroded James and Barren Islands; $2 million for Chesapeake Bay oyster recovery programs; nearly $900,000 to restore critical underwater Bay grasses; and $630,000 for other U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-related Chesapeake Bay restoration programs. In addition, the bill contains $90,000 for the Corps to continue its study into how to remove tons of trapped sediment from behind the Conowingo Dam, which threaten to send torrents of Susquehanna River mud into the upper Bay.
 
"The Chesapeake Bay is our State's greatest natural resource and it's critical that we nurture and protect it," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "I am committed to ensuring we have the resources that are necessary for us to accomplish that mission and restore the entire watershed."
 
The bill also contained $52.4 million for the Port of Baltimore, including maintenance dredging for the shipping channels into the Port and up through the C&D Canal, which connects the Port with the Delaware Bay and the northern ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. The bill also includes $8 million to continue the restoration of the 1,715 acre Poplar Island using clean dredge materials.
 
The Port generates $2 billion a year in economic activity, requiring 42,400 maritime related jobs, and 19,000 direct port jobs.  The Port handles almost 4,000 vessels a year and provides $278 million in state and local taxes annually, and $371 million in U.S. customs receipts.
 
 The appropriations measure also included several other requests from Senator Cardin, including: 
  • $2.9 million for shoreline protection and restoration in Ocean City, MD;
  • $288,000 for restoration of the Anacostia River;
  • $100,000 for the Baltimore Patapsco and Back River Initiative to restore portions of the two rivers.
  • $585,000 for comprehensive watershed management plan for the Middle Potomac River Watershed, which includes MD, DC, VA, PA, and WVA; and,
  • $269,000 to study restoration measures for the Middle Potomac Watershed of Great Seneca Creek and Muddy Branch.