DONALD C. STRIMBECK
P. O. Box 519
Granville WV 26534-0519
Friday 9 March 2001
Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington DC 20510
RE: LOCK HOURS
Dear Senator Byrd:
I'm enclosing a copy of my letter with its three enclosures to Ron Justice, who is a member of the Morgantown City Council. My letter apprises Ron about the federal Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) program, which has been put on hold by President Bush. I also update Ron on the President's budget proposal for the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE), which has bad news for the locks and dams on the Upper Mon in West Virginia.
The BIG program could over time be a boon for developing long range boating by large boats on the Upper Mon. This certainly is a form of boating recreation that we need to encourage on the Upper Mon. The infrastructure improvements needed on the Upper Mon to achieve this goal would also benefit boating and fishing recreation on the Upper Mon by smaller boats.
As authorized by President Clinton, BIG would disperse $32M to the fifty states. That is not much money, and, I doubt if the funding formula (unknown to me) would allot much to West Virginia. But, it is a start in the right direction. So, BIG needs to get started, and, well, get BIGGER!
The last two enclosures to my letter to Ron indicate that President Bush plans a 14% cut in the COE budget, especially aimed at the likes of our Upper Mon. Now, I grant that COE has perhaps been a bad boy in cooking the books to justify huge projects. But, as the BOATUS magazine article points out, COE could well spend about a third of a billion bucks on worthwhile recreation projects. This needs to happen, as that could help us on the Upper Mon.
The BOATUS article also points out that COE has no mandate for recreation. And, that what recreational activities COE does undertake are the result of specific legislation. So, as our Upper Monongahela Committee for Better Boating has been saying for the past 13 months, legislation is needed to add recreation to COE mandates. A possible way to do this would be the amendments I propose to the draft National Recreation Lakes Act. That draft act and my proposed amendments are in the introduction of my 19 February 2001 report, COMMERCE DECLINE ON UPPER MONONGAHELA THREATENS RECREATIONAL BOATING, sent to you and our West Virginia congressional folks on 24 February.
I realize Congress has far too much on its plate at this time, to worry about boating issues. But, Senator Lincoln and Representative Deal will in the near soon reintroduce the National Recreation Lakes Act. And, as time goes by, our committee hopes that our West Virginia congressional folks will help rework the bill into a more general act for the improvement of boating and related recreations.
UPPER MONONGAHELA COMMITTEE FOR BETTER BOATING
cc w/o encl: All four lock hours email lists!