Dear Mr. Strimbeck:

Thank you for your recent correspondence following up to my July 17, 2000, letter to you regarding your interest in recreational boating and the hours of operation of the locks and dams on the Monongahela River. I appreciate your also sending to me additional information relating to this issue, including copies of letters that you sent to the Mayors of Star City, Westover, Granville, Fairmont, and Rivesville.

I have noted your comments supporting your request for the introduction of legislation that would include recreation as an authorized purpose for locks and dams throughout the country. As you are aware, I recently contacted officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington to ask for additional information regarding this issue and the impacts associated with changing the law as you suggest. As soon as this information is received, I will contact you again.

In response to your comments regarding funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, for a number of years, I have been very concerned about the lack of adequate funding for the Corps, realizing that the organization is the backbone of our nation's water transportation and flood protection programs. As I stated in my previous letter to you, the Corps' budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2001, which affects the Corps' civilian operations nationwide, has been cut in the Senate on the Appropriations Committee level by $22 million from the FY 2000 level. The FY 2001 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, the measure appropriating funds for the Corps, will next be considered by the full Senate when Congress returns in September.

The Corps' final level of funding for FY 2001 will be settled during conference committee deliberation when the differences between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the bill will be reconciled. Should you wish to have a copy of the final version of the FY 2001 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to review the final funding level for the Corps, please contact me again in writing once this measure has been acted upon by the President.

Additionally, I understand that you have encountered some difficulty in obtaining information from the Pittsburgh District of the Corps relating to the Point Marion, Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska locks. In an effort to be helpful to you, I am contacting Colonel David Ridenour, Pittsburgh District Engineer, in your behalf. Any information I receive in response from Colonel Ridenour will be promptly forwarded to you.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your additional comments regarding lock and dam operating hours.

With kind regards, I am


Sincerely yours, /s/ Robert C. Byrd