Following Tragic Bluff Collapse, Representative Mike Levin Calls on OMB to Approve Federal Funding For Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project

August 21, 2019
Press Release

Encinitas, CA – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) called on Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought to approve federal funding for the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project, also known as the San Diego County Shore Protection Project. Levin’s request follows the tragedy that took place in Encinitas, on August 2, 2019, which took the lives of three residents of the 49th District.

Representative Levin’s letter to Acting Director Vought was also signed by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“Solana Beach and Encinitas have been ready to take action to ensure that this type of disaster does not happen… It is past time for the Federal Government to step up to advance the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project,” wrote Representative Levin. “We urge you to support the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project in order to ensure no further lives are needlessly lost.”

The Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project was authorized by Congress in 2016. Its primary purpose is to stabilize tall bluffs that erode due to high-energy storm swells, posing threats to life, safety, property, and critical infrastructure including Southern California’s main passenger and freight rail corridor. For more than 17 years, the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas have been active partners in the development of this project, providing the Army Corps of Engineers not only with funding, but also biweekly participation in Project Delivery Team meetings.

Click here or see below for the full letter:

Russell Vought

Acting Director

The Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Acting Director Vought:

We write to bring your attention to the tragedy that took place in Encinitas, California, on August 2, 2019, which took the lives of three of our constituents. In light of these events, we urge you to approve the request from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide funding for the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project, also known as the San Diego County Shore Protection Project.

The Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project was authorized by Congress in 2016. Its primary purpose is to stabilize tall bluffs that erode due to high-energy storm swells, posing threats to life, safety, property, and critical infrastructure including Southern California’s main passenger and freight rail corridor. For more than 17 years, the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas have been active partners in the development of this project, providing the Army Corps of Engineers not only with funding, but also biweekly participation in Project Delivery Team meetings.

Last Friday, a bluff collapsed within the study area of the project. Elizabeth Cox was at the beach celebrating her battle to defeat breast cancer, and she was joined by family members, including Anne Clave and Julie Davis. The three women were tragically killed by the bluff collapse.  Scientists have tied this incident to coastal erosion.  In recent years, there have been a total of eight deaths from bluff collapses within the project’s study area.

Solana Beach and Encinitas have been ready to take action to ensure that this type of disaster does not happen. The cities have funding in place for project Planning, Engineering & Design (PED) activities, however they are still waiting for funding from the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the PED process.

It is past time for the Federal Government to step up to advance the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project. The first-year Federal cost share of PED is expected to total $400,000. Additionally, the project requires $300,000 to complete an economic update. This funding could be made available through the Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan, under the General Investigations account in the Fiscal Year 2018 Supplemental Appropriations Bill, or the same account in the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill, which included conference report language explicitly making updates to economic analyses and economic impact studies eligible for work plan funding.

We urge you to support the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project in order to ensure no further lives are needlessly lost. We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

CC:  R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Kelly Colyar, Chief, Water and Power Branch, Office of Management and Budget

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