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Capps Pushes Legislation to Help Keep Central Coast Waterfronts Working, Support Jobs
Santa Barbara, CA – Last week Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) joined Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-1) in introducing legislation to help coastal communities on the Central Coast and around the country protect and preserve vital waterfront access for water-dependent businesses and jobs along our coasts.
Working waterfronts on the Central Coast support commercial and recreational fishing, boating and a host of other ocean-related jobs along the coastline. Protecting our oceans is critical to California’s $23 billion coastal economy, which supports nearly 390,000 jobs in tourism, fishing and recreation.
The Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act of 2011 (H.R. 3109) would provide matching grants through state coastal zone management programs to support water-dependent commercial businesses, which are at the economic and cultural heart of many coastal communities.
Working waterfronts provide essential waterfront access to fishermen, marina operators, charter boat captains and crew, seafood processors, and many other maritime businesses. Not only are they economically important to coastal communities, but they also contribute to the cultural heritage of these places, attracting tourists and visitors. Unfortunately, waterfront access is quickly disappearing under tremendous pressure from incompatible development and the high cost of maintaining infrastructure. This legislation will help to revitalize and protect these working waterfronts and the jobs that they provide for our coastal communities,” said Capps.
Loss or degradation of critical working waterfront infrastructure could devastate coastal communities. The Keep Our Waterfronts Working Act will help to address this problem by helping coastal states plan for the future economic health of coastal communities and investing in the protection, preservation, and expansion of working waterfronts.
Coastal states wishing to participate in the new program would develop comprehensive working waterfront plans. States with approved plans would be eligible to apply for federal matching grants to purchase development rights, make improvements to working waterfront, and support water-dependent businesses.
The legislation is supported by the California Coastal Conservancy, Commercial Fisherman of America, Marine Retailers Association of America and the American Boatyard and Building Association, Boat U.S., Coastal States Organization (CSO), West Coast Seafood Processors Association, Working Waterfront Coalition, National Marine Manufacturers Association Legislative Counsel, and the State Organization for Boating Associations SOBA.