Rep. Pingree Introduces Working Waterfronts Bill
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) introduced H.R. 3109, the Keep America’s Waterfronts
Working Act of 2012, along with 17 original co-sponsors late in 2011. The bill is very similar to one
introduced by Rep. Pingree two years ago, which had the support of several
national and state marine trades associations, including MRAA. MRAA has joined a newly formed coalition
organized to support the bill.
recognizes the importance of keeping water-dependent commercial activities in
many coastal communities and specifically identified commercial fishing,
recreational fishing, tourism, aquaculture, boat building, transportation, and
"other” businesses that support these activities. For example, boat yards that support any of
these activities would be included under the special protections of the
bill. It further says these activities
are dependent on coastal access in the form of docks, wharfs, lifts, wet and
dry storage in marinas, boat ramps, boat hauling, repair, and construction
these activities are threatened due to loss of access and the pressures of
conversion to privately owned commercial and residential activities.
sets up a grant program to establish a working waterfronts plan in coastal
states. The bill authorizes $25 million
in 2012, $50 million in 2013, and $75 million in 2014 and 2015. In addition, funds from the program could be
used by a state to purchase working waterfronts or to acquire an interest in a
working waterfront. The state may also
allow a non-government organization to manage the properties. However, the bill requires the property be
open to the public. Private clubs would
not qualify for usage of the funds.
waterfront is defined as real property including support structures over water
and other facilities that provide access to coastal areas and to people engaged
in commercial waterfront activities.
of working waterfronts has been one of considerable concern to boating and
fishing businesses and trade associations.
With the escalating property values on the waterfronts in most
communities and the increasing pressures to develop waterfronts for residential
use, many small marine businesses are squeezed from declining revenues and
rising taxes. The commercial, cultural,
and historical values of the working waterfronts are adversely impacted by
private residential development with devastating consequences for any coastal