James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, February 27, 2005

More Transfers to the Wealthy

Actually, the Bush administration deserves credit for trying to cut this.

Today, from Florida to New York to California, Corps restoration projects are increasingly becoming the primary "solution" to beach erosion -- which is a problem only when private developers built too close to the coastline and are at high risk for hurricane and storm damage. Beach rebuilding is now the fastest growing area of the Corps' work. In New Jersey, the Corps has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to dredge sand from the ocean floor and dump it on miles of coastline. Experts agree that virtually no beach replenishment program has lasted more than five years without costly rebuilding efforts -- in New Jersey, most of the Corps’ work eroded within three years. In one case, more than half of a 350-foot wide beach all but washed away.

Beach lovers might argue that the replenishment program is necessary so Americans can continue to spend summer vacations at the beach. But who really benefits from beach restoration? Homeowners benefit from increased property values and communities might benefit from increased property taxes and tourism. But, even though public access is the law on replenished shorelines and federal taxpayers have spent hundreds of million on beach renourishment, some cities and towns that willingly receive the federal subsidy are creatively blocking "outsiders" from using "their" beach.

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