Gov. Cooper writes letter urging feds to include New Hanover beaches among renourishment projects this year

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 2:47 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper is urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reinstate federal funding for beach renourishment projects in New Hanover County this year.

In January, the Corps released its final “Work Plan,” excluding Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure beaches from the list of sites that would receive funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

“I am writing to urge your favorable consideration of all options to secure reinstatement of fedeal-share funding for the Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach periodic renourishment projects,” Cooper stated in a letter dated June 28.

RELATED: Despite prior Congressional approval, local beach nourishment projects left out of federal funding.

The lack of New Hanover County beaches on the Corps’ plan came as a surprise, especially since in Dec. 2020, Senator Thom Tillis announced funding for beach nourishments included in the stopgap spending and pandemic relief bill passed then.

According to a previous news release from Tillis’ office, the spending bill included authorization for continued federal support of beach renourishment projects in Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure beaches, authorizing $53.8 million in federal funding for use over the remaining lifetime of the Wrightsville Beach renourishment project.

It also authorized a 15-year extension of the beach renourishment project at Carolina and Kure beaches, providing $24.2 million set to begin in 2022.

“Each of these communities rely upon predictable funding schedules in the Corps of Engineers Work Plan. I know that this is an item that is already under consideration for possible solutions, and I ask that you take all necessary steps to restore the Work Plan funding to allow all three of these projects to move forward in the upcoming 2021-2022 cycle,” Cooper stated in the letter.

Cooper’s letter was addressed to Al Lee, the director of Civil Works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Jaime Pinkham, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works; and Shalanda Young, acting director for the Office of Management and Budget.

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