Pingree reintroduces bipartisan legislation to protect working waterfronts

Posted 2017-02-16

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree / 1st District of Maine / US House of Representatives

Bill would create a grant program to help states protect access and infrastructure for water-dependent businesses

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Republican Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia to protect the kind of waterfront access and infrastructure that many businesses—and thousands of jobs—depend on in Maine.

The objectives of Pingree’s bill, the Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act (HR 1176), are two-fold. First, the bill would establish a Working Waterfront Grant Program to provide matching, competitive grants to coastal states.  These grants would help to preserve and expand access to coastal waters for commercial fishing, recreational guiding, aquaculture, boat building, and other water-dependent businesses.

The bill would also create a Working Waterfront Task Force at the Department of the Interior.  The task force would identify and prioritize critical working waterfront needs with respect to their cultural and economic importance, climate change and other environmental threats, and market conditions for water-dependent businesses.  It would also identify working waterfronts within communities.

“Strong working waterfronts are critical to the future of Maine’s fishing communities and marine economy. Maine has fewer than 20 miles of working waterfront along our 3,500-mile coastline.

As a state, we have worked hard to ensure people can continue to make a living off of the water but we cannot do it alone. It’s essential that our federal agencies better incorporate the needs of our nation’s working waterfronts into their decision-making processes.”

Nick Battista, marine programs director at the Island Institute