House Approves Kelly Amendment to Support Allegheny River Locks for Summer Boating

Jun 7, 2018

Part of House-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2018

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon in support of his amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 (H.R 8). The amendment, which was unanimously adopted, directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider the number of recreational boaters who use the Allegheny River locks, as well as their economic impact on the region, when prioritizing funding for the locks.

Text of Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:

“Mr. Speaker, this amendment allows the Army Corps of Engineers to strongly consider the large number of recreational boats that use the locks on the Allegheny River in my district when prioritizing operation and maintenance projects.

“River communities on the Allegheny, like Kittanning, Ford City, Freeport, East Brady, and others, rely on recreational boating for their economic well-being. In recent years, the Army Corps and a local non-profit, the Allegheny River Development Corporation, have developed a successful private-public partnership. Their partnership has resulted in private money being raised to keep the locks operational only on summer weekends for recreational use. This amendment will allow the Army Corps the flexibility it needs to help keep the locks open throughout the summer tourism months once again.

“Speaking on this issue, a Commissioner in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, once said, ‘Washington has already taken away our coal jobs, now they are trying to take away our river.’ Because of the hard work of people like Linda Hemmes and other community leaders, the river is still open to thousands of boaters who enjoy the Allegheny on summer weekends. But even the weekend lock operations are still very much at risk, and it is my hope that this amendment will allow the Army Corps to prioritize funding so that the river remains passable all summer long for decades to come.”

NOTE: The House of Representatives passed WRDA yesterday evening by a vote of 408-2. The full text of Rep. Kelly’s amendment can be viewed here.

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