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English gets rare positive editorial from Erie Times

Phil English (R-3rd) got a rare positive editorial from the Erie Times as they praised his efforts to keep funding coming for sand replenishment at Presque Isle State Park.

Presque Isle is an important part of the Erie community and economy and is truly a treasure.

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The editorial is below the break 

 English fulfills sand obligation

The Erie region counts on Phil English to keep the “Presque” in Presque Isle. It’s not a simple matter.

Presque Isle State Park owes its name to the French, who set up shop west of the Alleghenies before the British arrived to close them down. The French called the peninsula “almost an island.”

However, continuous erosion of the park’s sand will transform “almost an island” into an island. The peninsula’s beaches will shrink and its appeal decline if nature is allowed to proceed on its own. In fact, the action of the wind and waves causes the peninsula to inch its way toward Buffalo. The Erie region prefers to keep it here as a fine state park. Hence the need for sand replenishment.

Members of the Presque Isle Advisory Committee have warned that replenishment might be endangered by lack of federal funds. The U.S. Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District, said it has stopped work on the project.

No money, no sand, no beaches, no fun — and what about no way?

The peninsula has sometimes received $620,000 per year in federal funds. That sum shrank to $276,000 in 2005; it rose to $460,000 in 2006.

How serious is the problem? Without replenishment, said Harry Leslie, the park’s operations director, some beaches will probably not open in the summer. For example, Stone Jetty Beach “has been devastated” by fall storms. The springlike weather the Erie region enjoyed until recently leaves the beaches open to storm damage.

Enter U.S. Rep. Phil English of Erie, R-3rd Dist.

To the federal government, $620,000 is not even spare change. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, English can remind other members of Congress about Erie’s need for that money.

English’s colleagues from North Dakota and Nevada have other concerns. One reason English is in office is to look out for vital regional interests. This is one of them.

It is too bad English must fight for this money every year. Don’t expect that to change. And it’s going to be even harder now that English is a Republican serving in the House minority.

But at least the sand allotment seems secure for this year. Julia Wanzco, English’s press secretary, said he expects an appropriations measure including money for the replenishment to be passed by mid-February.

English is not asking for pork here. This isn’t the infamous Alaskan bridge to nowhere.

Thousands of people in the region swim at the park’s beaches. They want their beaches preserved. Those who do not swim or otherwise enjoy the park benefit from the business generated by the thousands of tourists who come to the park. Presque Isle is a natural treasure. It must be protected, preserved and enhanced.

That is exactly what English is doing.

January 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm
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