House Passes Reauthorization of Coastal Zone Management Act
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House voted Tuesday to retain a federal-state partnership in managing the nation’s coastal resources, but with fewer federal dollars earmarked for the program.
Before approving a five-year reauthorization of the Coastal Zone Management Act on a voice vote, the House endorsed a proposal by the chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee to lower the maximum amount of money that could be spent on the program.
Under the proposal of Rep. Walter Jones, D-N.C., the authorized spending level for next year would be set at $43.23 million, the same amount being spent this year.
For the four following years, spending would be allowed to rise by 4.5 percent a year, the estimated rate of inflation.
″This is a deficit reduction amendment. It represents the strong desire of members of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee to control the deficit,″ Jones said. He said it would save $193 million over five years.
The bill also would reduce the federal government’s share of the coastal management program. Currently, the federal government pays 80 percent of the cost and states pick up 20 percent. The federal percentage would drop to 50 percent in the 1989 fiscal year, under the plan.
Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., a sponsor of the bill, said he wished it was more generous to states, but recognized that the federal fiscal situation prevented spending more money for coastal protection.
″This is a good program. It is a modest program. It is relatively inexpensive as things go in this government and it works. It recognizes there are both state and national interests in the coastal zone,″ Studds said.