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House subcommittee approves waterfront bill

The House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans last week approved H.R. 3223, the Keep Our Working Waterfronts Act, as part of H.R. 5451, the Coastal Zone Reauthorization Act of 2008.

H.R. 3223, sponsored by Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, would allow coastal states to invest in the protection, preservation, and expansion of working waterfronts through the Coastal Zone Management Act.

The bill creates a grant program to preserve access to coastal waters for commercial fishing operations and other water-dependent, coastal-related businesses, including recreational boating access. H.R. 3223 does this by amending the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to establish a competitive matching-grant program administered through the Department of Commerce.

The legislation now heads to the House Natural Resources Committee for consideration.

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