WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allocate additional funding to dredge Eastern North Carolina’s Morehead City Harbor.  In a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy and Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick at the Army Corps of Engineers, Congressman Jones explained that the harbor’s channel has shoaled from its authorized depth of 45 feet down to 35 feet.  Furthermore, the $4,855,000 provided for the project in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request is helpful but not sufficient to return the channel to its authorized depth.  As a result, many of the jobs and economic impact related to the harbor are in serious peril.   

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 the recently-passed omnibus Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bill.  In that bill, Congress created several unallocated pots of money for different project categories, including “Deep Draft Harbors and Channels,” and gave the Corps a list of criteria to use in determining which projects to fund from these pots.  In his letter to the Corps’ top two leaders, Congressman Jones made the case that the Morehead City Harbor is exactly the type of project that Congress had in mind when it provided the Corps with these additional pots of money.  He also laid out exactly how the Morehead City Harbor meets the criteria for project selection established by Congress.

“Maintaining Morehead City Harbor is vital to the economic success of Eastern North Carolina,” said Congressman Jones.  “The port supports over 3,700 jobs, and the businesses that rely on it must have reliable access through the harbor.   I will continue to do everything I can to fight for that cause.”

For more information on the shoaling at Morehead City Harbor, read the News and Observer article, “Sand-Clogged Inlet a Costly Drag on Shippers at NC Port.”

To read the letter Congressman Jones wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers, click below.