10.31.01

CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE APPLAUDS HOUSE PASSAGE OF PORT OF OAKLAND FUNDING BILL

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Lee today applauded House passage of H.R.2311, the Energy and Water
Appropriations conference report for FY02, which provides $25 million for projects at the Port of Oakland, including two 1999 Army Corps of Engineers projects: the Port of Oakland -50 foot dredging, and the wetlands restoration project at the former Hamilton Army Airfield.

The House passed H.R. 2311 by a vote of 399-29; and it is now awaiting action in the Senate. The Hamilton wetlands restoration project received $4.5 million, and the Port of Oakland received $10 million for the 50 foot dredging project, as well as $10.127 million for channel maintenance dredging. Funding for the dredging project is the underpinning of the largest maritime expansion in the history of the Port of Oakland. The continued project will create 8,000 jobs and generate millions in commercial and government revenue.

"The economic vitality of the region, and the nation, are dependent on the effective and reliable dredging of Northern California’s port facilities," said Lee. "The Port of Oakland dredging project will also create thousands of direct and indirect jobs. This is especially crucial during this downturn in the economy."

"Congresswoman Barbara Lee showed tremendous leadership and skill in steering our funding request through the
appropriations process. In what has been an undoubtedly difficult period in Washington, Representative Lee has remained
diligent in her pursuit of this very necessary funding for the project," said Tay Yoshitani, Executive Director, Port of Oakland. "As a result of her efforts, the Port of Oakland is able to move further toward completion of this essential economic development and environmental restoration project. This project will bring important economic stimulus and environmental enhancement to our region."

The Army Corps of Engineers, working with State Coastal Conservancy as a local sponsor, would utilize dredge material to
restore the former Hamilton Army Airfield property to a tidal marsh. This is a key element of the federal-state partnership known as the Long Term Management Strategy for dredge material disposal.

"The project is truly one instance in which we can help improve the local and national economy, while being environmentally
responsible at the same time," said Lee. "Using the material from the dredging project to restore the tidal marsh at Hamilton will lead to critical habitat restoration and provide a proper balance of growth and environmental protection."

Congresswoman Lee thanked her colleagues in the House for demonstrating leadership by passing H.R.2311 in support of this landmark project, and urged the Senate to pass the bill. Congresswoman Lee expressed her hope that President Bush will sign the bill, and also her appreciation to the many organizations that worked to secure this funding, including the Port of Oakland, local environmentalists, the AFL-CIO, Army Corps of Engineers, leaders in the shipping industry and the local business community.

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