December 4, 2003
To: Municipal representatives, and supporters of the River Navigation Coalition:
The RNC would like to thank you for passing a resolution to support our efforts to keep the Allegheny River avenue of commerce open. Your help on this matter is every much appreciated. At this time when federal budgets are being approved, another letter to our Federal Representatives and to the Corps of Engineers stating our opposition to any further cuts is service would be helpful in our fight to maximize the hours of operations of the locks and dams for all users.
Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter that the Coalition has sent to Col. Scrocco who is the commanding officer of the Pittsburgh District of the Army Corps of Engineers. In a press conference last summer, Col. Scrocco unveiled a plan of operation for all the locks in the Pittsburgh District that would base the hours of operation of each lock on the number of commercial lockages that lock performed in a years time. His plan gave no credit for recreational lockages because the Corps mandate for lock operation is for commercial navigation only. Needless to say, that the number of commercial lockages at locks 5-9 on the Allegheny and the upper most locks on the Monongahela, Hildebrand and Opekiska locks, are substantially less than those on the more commercialized lower Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. In fact, using the Col's measuring scale, a major reduction in operational hours are slated for Locks 5-9 on the Allegheny as well as the Hildebrand and Opekiska locks this coming year. These proposed cuts in service hours to locks that already operate at reduced schedules would severely limit the possibility of recreational river travel. In addition, these cuts will make it less appealing for the development of new or revitalized businesses on the rivers who may want to use river transportation for raw materials and finished goods. For this reason, and in the best interest of all river navigators, as well as the municipalities that border the rivers, the Coalition is opposed to any further cuts in service on the Allegheny or Monongahela rivers.
Thank you once again for your help on this very important matter,
Capt. Mike Ferris, President
River Navigation Coalition
Enclosed: Copy of letter to Col. Scrocco