A decision can be referred to as difficult when there are compelling arguments behind the two possible courses of action.
In government, these types of scenarios often confront elected officials. However, that’s not what we would call what lawmakers in the nation’s capital face then they decide annually if tax dollars should continue to be spent on beach replenishment projects in Ocean City and elsewhere in this country.
Earlier this month, local beaches were ravaged by a storm that many claimed was the worst in 10 years. Last week, Congressman Frank Kratovil was given a guided tour of the resort’s 10 miles of wonderful beach. He was shocked at what he saw, and he knows what he’s talking about since he owns a beachfront parcel in town and has a stake in this situation.
At some point over the next few months, Kratovil will cast an easy vote for him. He certainly knows how important federal appropriations are for beach replenishment and nourishment projects.
Although Kratovil and other regional officials understand this is money well spent, there are others who disagree and argue annually against these large funding allocations. Fortunately, they are in the minority year after year, but there are murmurs that federal lawmakers could have a little more spirited debate next year, as more and more projects are put under the microscope in the face of declining revenues at every corner of the budget.
The argument against throwing money at sand pumping is it’s an exercise in futility. Critics say there’s no sense fighting Mother Nature and its fury. Barrier islands will always face sand erosion issues. The severity will depend on the whims of coastal storms and spending millions of dollars to make up for this fickle nature is not a wise use of cherished federal funds.
It’s dangerous to assume anything these days, but the chances of this argument swaying the majority of congressional leaders anytime soon are slim. Nonetheless, it would be wise for Ocean City to pen a letter to the committee charged with the beach replenishment appropriation to solidify support.
Obviously, it’s quite proprietary for those of us who call this area home to argue this is money well spent, but that does not mean it’s not true. Go to the beach today or over the holiday weekend, take a look around and then reflect on the last time you were at the beach or a great summer day. The beach is not today what it was then, and we need to use our tax dollars to get it back. That’s a good use of our money.