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Date of Issue: April 08, 2009

Beach nourishment funding halted, but AMI OK

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which operates directly under the White House, has apparently halted the use of $83 million in stimulus funds earmarked for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach nourishment projects.

American Shore and Beach Preservation Association president Harry Simmons said the OMB stopped the projects because it is “contrary to administration budget policy to use federal funds for periodic beach renourishment.”

Manatee County natural resources director Charlie Hunsicker said the OMB decision does not alter the next Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project.

“It’s a bad mark on the government, but, fortunately, those funds were for projects ready for construction. We won’t be ready until 2013 for construction to start, so it’s not going to affect us,” he said.

But Simmons is concerned about the $83 million worth of beach renourishment projects that the Corps says are ready to begin. Simmons said that for the past 14 years, presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush have signed legislation that included funding for beach nourishment projects.

Under the Recovery Act of 2009, however, the OMB is in charge of disbursing any nourishment funds, Simmons said.

“They have chosen to ignore the will of Congress and instead have driven the bus in the wrong direction,” he said.

Simmons urged beachgoers, environmentalists and anyone who has any interest in the beach to go online to www.whitehouse.gov/contact and send an e-mail directly to President Barack Obama. The Web site www.capwiz.com/mandcmp/issues can be used to e-mail federal elected officials.

As of April 3, the OMB had declined comment on its management of beach nourishment funds.

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