Del. Sen. Chris Coons Calls for Beach Replenishment in Bethany A - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Sen. Chris Coons Calls for Beach Replenishment in Bethany Area

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Walkway to nowhere. Before the January storm, this lead to the top of a dune, which has now been washed away into the sandbar (Source: Amber Muehlemann) Walkway to nowhere. Before the January storm, this lead to the top of a dune, which has now been washed away into the sandbar (Source: Amber Muehlemann)

BETHANY BEACH, Del. - At a Congressional budget hearing, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware made an appeal for action on the federal level to support the damaged coastline of Sussex County. In particular, he asked federal agencies for more funding for the replenishment of the Bethany Beach area. 

"The president's budget to my disappointment," he said at the hearing, "Did not include funding for Bethany Beach or South Bethany Beach." 

It was announced last month that the Army Corps of Engineers would not be including the Bethany Beach area in its latest work plan. The decision frustrated many town leaders and "perplexed" some state environmental experts. The Army Corps of Engineers told WBOC that funding was the primary reason for the decision.  

At the hearing for the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Coons asked Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary for the Army for Civil Works about what would be the most "likely, relevant, or appropriate" action to take, in order to receive federal funding. Darcy said the best source of funding would be from the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency funding, which she said could be on the table. 

This funding is only available through need-based ranking nationwide, which is limited by available funding.

Ron Steen, the co-owner of the Steen Beach Service, said that he was hopeful this federal funding would be approved.

"Right now if we had another storm," he said. "We'd have no defense. Just no defense. It would come breaching, and flood the town." 

This is a thought echoed by town leaders of South Bethany and Fenwick Island as well. 

"We're glad Senator Coons is stepping up to support the replenishment of the beaches," said South Bethany Council member Carol Stevenson. "It's so important to this community, the county, and really the state of Delaware."

Meanwhile there was a similar sentiment in Fenwick Island.

"We hope we can be included in any emergency funding," said Fenwick Island Mayor Eugene Langan. "Because we feel we're going to need it."

This was the second of four budget hearings held by the committee. 

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