NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
Delaware Congressman Michael N. Castle (Rep.) questioned the Clinton Administration's "repeated failure" to include Delaware's beach replenishment needs in its annual budget during a press conference on Monday, March 6, 2000.
Castle stressed the national importance of Delaware's beaches and announced new funding level requests to maintain beaches in Lewes, Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Fenwick Island and Dewey Beach, all communities frequented by Washingtonians.
Castle also called on Congress to label the West Rehoboth Sewer Expansion project a priority and to give it federal funding to improve the system.
"Over the years, our beaches and shorelines have taken harsh beatings from storms and hurricanes, which hit our coastlines, destroying dunes and often leaving no barrier between the ferocious ocean and the homes, businesses and roads," said Castle. "The beaches are a national resource and the federal government should be a partner with the states in beach preservation. It should be a shared effort."
Castle noted that the Clinton Administration has again failed to include beach replenishment funding in its budget, deeming it a "low priority". Castle wrote to Congressman Ron Packard, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, to include in the FY2001 Energy and Water Appropriations bill $6.987 million in funding for shore protection projects in Delaware as follows:
Castle also requested funding from Congressman Jim Walsh, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD and Independent Agencies, for $15 million to expand the Dewey Beach Sanitary Sewage District into West Rehoboth Beach. Expanding the sewer district would help control nutrient pollution such as Pfisteria in Delaware's waterways, Castle said.
"Delaware has worked hard and has been successful in providing for its water infrastructure needs through existing federal low-interest loan programs," said Castle. "On rare occasions, these federal loan programs do not reach far enough down to meet the needs of the community. That is why I am asking for this money from the federal government to help make sewage bills more affordable for low and moderate income residents."
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