Area Legislators Work Together To Secure Emergency Funding for Port Hueneme

September 12, 2013

SACRAMENTO – Working collaboratively and across partisan lines in the final days of the state legislative session, three Ventura County area legislators pushed through legislation to help deliver $2 million in emergency funding for erosion control along Hueneme Beach in the City of Port Hueneme.

Working to secure funding before winter storms begin, companion bills authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) passed out of the Legislature late Thursday and are now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s approval.  Brown has until mid-October to act on the measures.

Assembly Bill 606 by Williams and Gorell would appropriate $1 million in Proposition 12 bond funds for one phase of emergency erosion control, pending Coastal Commission approval. It passed off the Assembly floor on a bipartisan, 64-0 vote.

Senate Bill 436 by Jackson would appropriate an additional $1 million in Proposition 12 bond funds for emergency shoreline protection, pending Coastal Commission approval, for another, subsequent phase. Should the Coastal Commission direct work that does not qualify for bond funds, SB 436 would instead appropriate $1 million from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund. It passed off the Senate floor on a bipartisan, 36-0 vote.

Both bills are contingent on the other bill taking effect.

“It is critically important that the city receive this funding before the winter rains begin and the erosion gets worse,” Jackson said. “Although the state didn’t cause this problem, we understand the seriousness and the urgency of it. With the help of the Governor, my colleagues and I have been working to come to this solution, which we hope will allow the city to make it safely through the winter.”

"This is needed to address an emergency and protect Port Hueneme," said Williams.  "There are inherent environmental safeguards by approving money for a project already approved by the Coastal Commission."

“I applaud the efforts of Mayor Green and the city council of Port Hueneme.  They rang the bell on this issue early and relentlessly raised the visibility of the emergency to the level of the governor,” stated Gorell.  “There is still much work to do before the winter high tides come, but I feel optimistic that the crisis is at least temporarily averted.”

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), who sent letters in support of the bills, said, “I am grateful for the work of Senator Jackson and Assemblymembers Williams and Gorell to fund emergency shoreline protection for our community.  I can assure them and the residents of Port Hueneme that despite budget gridlock and the sequester, I will continue to work with our community leaders to turn over every stone in the effort to fully fund the federal dredging project that has led to the absolutely unacceptable erosion at Hueneme Beach."

The erosion problem was originally created by the construction of the deep-water Port of Hueneme many years ago. Federal budget cuts have contributed to the problem. In addition, the City of Port Hueneme is experiencing especially severe erosion this year, similar to what occurred almost two decades ago.

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Contact: Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4019 (Jackson), lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov
Josh Molina (805) 564-1649 (Williams), Josh.Molina@asm.ca.gov
Douglas Lorenz (805) 242-8123 (Gorell), Douglas.Lorenz@asm.ca.gov