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December 10, 2016

King Applauds Passage of Major Legislation Boosting Water Infrastructure Projects in Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the support of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), the Senate early this morning passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, legislation that invests in America’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and authorizes 31 critical Army Corps projects, including the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Project.

            “Maine’s waters are a crucial resource for thousands of people across the state who rely on them for a livelihood, which is why ensuring that our state’s water-related infrastructure is strong and safe is so critical,” Senator King said. “This legislation will help protect the public’s health through improved water and wastewater management, and strengthen our state’s commercial maritime economy by preserving access to critical funding for Maine’s small harbors. The authorization of the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Project is also a victory for the safer and more efficient flow of commercial goods into the state, which will bolster our economy and help contribute to economic growth.”

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act invests in the country’s ports and waterways to improve commerce, improves flood protection and safety for communities, streamlines reviews and increases local participation, promotes innovative technologies to address water resources challenges, provides essential investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and increases flexibility and federal assistance to address drought. The bill passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support today.

The legislation supports several water infrastructure projects in Maine, including:

  • The authorization of the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Project. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Portsmouth Harbor handles about 3.5 million tons of shipping a year for New Hampshire, eastern Vermont, and southern Maine. Items include petroleum products, rubber and plastics, iron and steel scrap, salt, limestone, gypsum, and fish products. The harbor is used by submarines from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery and for fuel deliveries to Pease International Tradeport in Newington. Portsmouth Harbor is also used extensively by a large lobstering fleet, charter fishing vessels, commercial fishermen, excursion boats to the Isles of Shoals situated nine miles offshore, and local and transient boats based at or visiting the nearly 20 boating facilities in the area. The Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Project would significantly expand the turning basin in the harbor so that larger ships can navigate the area safely.
  • Establishment of a permanent 10 percent set aside in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that will be dedicated to funding small or emerging harbors like those in Maine and around the country.


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