May 09, 2018

Shaheen, Hassan Secure NH Priorities in Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill to Address Mitigation Efforts at Hampton & Portsmouth Harbors

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements in response to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ (EPW) release of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, biennial legislation that authorizes water infrastructure projects around the country. Shaheen and Hassan helped secure critical New Hampshire objectives in the bill that urge the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to prioritize mitigation efforts at Hampton and Portsmouth Harbors.

“I appreciate the Committee leadership’s attention to these projects, which are vital to New Hampshire’s coastal communities and our commercial fishing industry,” said Shaheen. “Investing in Hampton and Portsmouth Harbors both supports the seacoast economy and prioritizes our public safety infrastructure. I’m grateful that the Environment and Public Works Committee understands the importance of including these objectives and I will continue to work across the aisle to ensure Congress does its job to help see these projects through.”

“Investing in our water infrastructure in New Hampshire and across the country is critical to the safety of our people and the strength of our economy,” said Hassan. “I commend the Committee for heeding our call to include these two important projects, which will help strengthen the Portsmouth and Hampton Harbors that are critical to the vitality of the Seacoast region and play an important role in boosting economic development throughout the state.”

Addressing the Committee leadership earlier this year, Shaheen and Hassan requested the Committee support the Hampton Harbor Navigation Improvement Project and the Portsmouth Harbor & Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes the Senators’ language that would permit emergency dredging for Hampton Harbor. Significant shoaling at Hampton has caused sand to pile high enough to prevent boats from exiting and entering the harbor at low tides. For Portsmouth Harbor, the current 800-foot width of the turning basin on the Piscataqua River is a safety concern for large cargo ships. The Senators’ provision will permit the basin to be widened by 400 feet, which will allow for broader use of area ports, improve navigational safety and provide an economic boost for New Hampshire and the region. In addition to Congressional approval, these mitigation efforts would need to be included in the Corps’ work plan.

Shaheen and Hassan’s letter can be read here. The bill text can be read here.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have been steadfast advocates on behalf of New Hampshire fishermen and coastal communities in Hampton and Portsmouth. In March, Shaheen and Hassan called on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James to include emergency dredging for Hampton Harbor in the OMB and the Corps’ fiscal year 2018 work plan. Shaheen and Hassan have repeatedly called for the Corps to dredge Hampton Harbor.

 

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