Press Release

January 22, 2007
Senators oppose Deauthorization in 2009



Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara Mikulski have written to the two leading members of the Environment and Public Works Committee urging the completion of the remaining portions of the Baltimore Harbor and Channels 50 foot project in Maryland and Virginia. Four sections of the channels the Curtis Bay Channel and the Craighill Entrance through Fort McHenry Channel in Maryland, and the York Spit and Rappahannock Shoal Channel in Virginia totaling approximately 52 miles, were not completed with the dredging of the main 50- foot shipping channel in 1990 in order to reduce initial costs.

In a letter to
Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and to
James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Committee, Senators Cardin and Mikulski pointed out that the Baltimore Harbor and Channels 50-foot project has made navigation safer, easier and cheaper for ships using the channel and assured that the route can handled the deep draft bulk cargo carriers in use today. Dredging the remaining unconstructed portions of the project in future years will be critical to the continued safety and efficiency of shipping from the Chesapeake Bay to the Port of Baltimore.

The final phase of the project needs to be completed by the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure safe navigation and continued shipping operations, said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The increase in ship sizes makes it imperative that the channels in these four sections are widened to appropriate levels to accommodate the shipping traffic that navigates the channel.

This project is essential to ensuring that freight carriers and cruise ships can safely navigate up the Chesapeake Bay to the Port of Baltimore for years to come, said Senator Mikulski. I am proud to now be working with Senator Cardin to ensure that the Port can continue to serve as an important economic engine for Maryland. I will keep fighting to support this and other Port projects in the upcoming Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which is expected to be considered later this year.

The Association of Maryland Pilots has stated that if the channel is not widened to the authorized width that shipping could be reduced to one-way traffic, causing major delays along major sections of the channels.