DONALD C. STRIMBECK
P. O. Box 519
Granville WV 26534-0519
Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington DC 20510
29 August 2000
RE: LOCK HOURS
Dear Senator Byrd:
Thank you for your letter of 18 August.
Our Upper Monongahela Committee for Better Boating will be most interested in the response you get from the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As you know, Congressman Mollohan has also made a request similar to yours to the Corps. I hope that the Corps realizes that this "lock hours" issue is an opportunity for the Corps to come forth with proposals for improving boating and fishing recreation on our nation's navigable rivers.
As for the Corps funding issues, I have a vague understanding based on newspaper reports. So, if you, and perhaps Corps folks, could provide me with sources of information concerning Corps funding issues, I'd be most appreciative. And, I will contact you concerning Corps FY2001 funding once Congress and the President finish the "budget battle" which begins after Labor Day. I hope that you and Congressman Mollohan will be able to increase funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for FY 2001. Cutting the Corps budget is the wrong way to go. If anything, the Corps should be getting budget increases for FY 2001 and out-years.
My favorite "spectator sport" over the next month or two (other than WVU football) will be the "budget battle." As I recall, practically all of the major budget bills are not yet done. I suspect we'll see one of two things happen with the FY 2001 budget. Most likely, everything will be shoved into one hughmongous bill. Or, maybe a continuing resolution to fund the government until the new Congress convenes next year.
I also thank you for asking the Pittsburgh District folks for information covering the past twenty years that I think we all need concerning the four Upper Mon locks. While pieces of this information can be found on Corps websites ("www.lrp.usace.army.mil", and, "www.wrsc.usace.army.mil/ndc"), not all of the information I'd like to see is available on websites. And, what is available on these websites is generally for only the past five years.
Again, the information I want pertains to the Point Marion, Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska locks, starting with 1980. I say start with 1980 because that gives us data prior to Hildebrand and Opekiska going to day shift only in 1985, and, prior to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1992. The desired information, for each year, for each lock and dam, is yearly budget, hours of operation, staffing, and, lock transits. Hopefully, in addition to a yearly summary, transit information would be broken out by month, by type and tonnage of commercial transit, and, by a count of recreational and fishing boats. Further, I'd like to see the budget and staffing projections for FY 2001, and for such projections for outyears beyond FY 2001 as may be available.
This information will give us a historical perspective of our Upper Mon lock hours problem. I hope that my "Army brother," COL Ridenour, and his Pittsburgh District staff, will provide this information. I say "Army brother," because, in addition to being a retired GS-14 engineer from our National Energy Technology Laboratory here in Morgantown, I'm also retired as a Colonel (0-6) from the army's "oxymoron branch," aka "military intelligence!"
Again, many thanks for your help with the lock hours issue. And, I look forward to seeing the responses you get from the Corps Washington headquarters, and, the Pittsburgh District. I also don't envy you and Congressman Mollohan for the "budget fun" you are about to endure!
Donald Strimbeck, Secretary
UPPER MONONGAHELA COMMITTEE FOR BETTER BOATING
Lock hours email lists
Evelyn Ryan, Dominion Post