Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Chairman of its Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, today called the Water Resource Development Act “one of the most important public works laws that Congress will consider.” Speaking at a committee hearing to review the Water Resources Development Act of 2010, Senator Cardin said that “a robust water resources infrastructure for America is vital to creating and maintaining jobs all across this country.
“Every year the Army Corps of Engineers clears tons of eroded sediment from the federal navigation channels that lead into and out of the Port of Baltimore. This erosion contributes to five millions of cubic yards of sediment deposited annually into the bay, adversely affecting water quality, destroying valuable wetlands and habitat, and clogging navigation channels. Keeping this port open and the channels dredged is essential not just for Maryland, but for the nation.
“The Port of Baltimore is an enormous economic engine for Maryland with national significance. There are 126 miles of shipping channels leading to the Port of Baltimore. In 2008, approximately 47.5 million tons of cargo, including 33.0 million tons of foreign cargo valued at $45.3 billion, and approximately 14.5 million tons of domestic waterborne cargo, moved through the Port of Baltimore.”
“The Maryland Port Administrations estimates that The Port generates 50,700 jobs in Maryland with $3.7 billion in wages and salaries. Additionally, there are approximately 68,300 related and indirect jobs associated with Port activities.
“Maryland is home to scores of other ports, many of them tiny operations that support our independent watermen… the men and women who make their living crabbing or oystering the Chesapeake’s waters.
“At the local level, Maryland puts the Bay’s dredge material to good use on coastal habitat, beach and island restoration projects in a state that has more miles of shoreline than the entire west coast of America.”