The White House on Monday released a budget that proposes cuts to several federal coastal programs, including one that has helped put tons of sand on Galveston’s beaches in recent years.

The budget proposes cutting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget by 22 percent, to $4.8 billion for Fiscal Year 2019.

Among the proposed cuts is a reduction in federal funding for the beneficial dredge material for beach building projects, according to corps documents.

The corps is tasked with dredging federal waterways, and in some places uses the material it picks up from channel floors to expand beaches or protect shoreline infrastructure.

While the program’s budget has been as high as $15 million in the past, the budget presented on Monday provides it with only $500,000.

The proposal drew condemnation from coastal advocacy groups, including the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, which tweeted it was disappointed to see major cuts to the beneficial use program.

“We believe high-quality sand that’s not contaminated is a resource, and we should be using it as a resource and not treating it as a waste product to be disposed of as cheaply as possible,” said Derek Brockbank, the association’s executive director.

The budget cuts could affect future building programs in Galveston if they pass.

Last year, the Galveston Park Board of Trustees passed a legislative agenda that called for adequate annual funding for the Continuing Authorities Program, Section 204 — the beneficial section of the Water Resources Development Act that the Trump administration has proposed slashing.

Since 2014, the park board, city, Texas General Land Office and the corps have partnered in various ways to build along Seawall Boulevard and in front of the Dellanera RV Park, off the west end of the seawall.

The largest of the three beach expansion programs since 2014, a $22 million project in an area of the seawall now known as Babe’s Beach, west of 61st Street, was built through participation in the beneficial use program.

Park board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun said the beneficial use program provides valuable savings to cities conducting beach building projects.

“If we had paid for the dredging costs, the project would have cost $22 million, as opposed to $9 million, which represented the cost of redirecting the placement of the sand and mobilizing equipment on the beach to place the sand,” de Schaun said. “The program is valuable because it leverages federal budgets toward local uses without increased costs.”

The Trump budget also proposes cutting $2.8 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency and $200 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by eliminating programs that fund bacteria monitoring on beaches, environmental education program and climate research, among other things.

The budget includes $2.7 million in annual funding for the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study, which the corps is completing along with the Texas General Land Office. That study is exploring the feasibility of a coastal storm surge barrier, and barring an act of Congress, must be completed before such a project can be funded and built.

The budget still needs to be approved by Congress, which in the past has disregarded White House proposals and continued to send funding to projects the executive branch had proposed to cut.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

Senior Reporter

(32) comments

Paula Flinn

Trump’s idea of making America great again is to slash the programs with the money we depend on for our existence and quality of life. Only when the lack of such amenities affects your own “neck of the woods,” do you realize that the Trump Administration does not care about coastal areas or the people that populate them.

Kelly Naschke

Can you provide a specific example of a cut that negatively affected you Paula?

Dwight Burns

As I read your numberous outrageous moments, makes me wonder if you are computer generated.

Kelly Naschke

Can you please provide a specific example of a cut that has negatively impacted you Paula?

Josh Butler

No matter how big the budget, how outrageous the spending, how wide the deficits, how much we are kicking the can down the road, SOMEBODY will complain about not getting a big enough cut. Sad. People like Paula are misguided by the MSM, and have no idea what they're talking about.

Diane Turski

Vote to replace our current congressional Trump zombies and then Trump's nonsensical policies will never be enacted by a Brand New Congress!!

Josh Butler

What policies? Ones that create jobs? Ones that cut down on unemployment and raise wages? Ones that bring money back to America and put more money in your pocket? Are you saying rolling back regulations and cutting taxes are a bad thing? You might not like Trump the person, but his policies are working just fine.

I do, however, have a problem with the budget Congress just passed. Too much spending!

Kelly Naschke

Diane, can you please give a specific example of a”nonsensical policy?

Kelly Naschke

Paula and Diane both exemplify the strategy to winning debates with progressive liberals....all you have to do is ask them for FACTS. Thanks to the both of for giving examples of your party’s failure.

Diane Turski

If you read this article, Kelly, I think you will get your answers.

Kelly Naschke

In other words...Diane can’t produce the facts to support her opinions.

Paula Flinn

Sorry, I was at work and unable to respond on your “immediate” timetable. I believe that clean air and clean water are (and forever will be) important to us all. Getting rid of the regulations that keep our air and water free friom pollution is detrimental to everyone. Plus, kicking up the premiums for The ACA has affected some of my friends and relatives who are out of work or have work, but no healthcare.
The changes to the environmental regulations will hurt all in the US. Everything Trump does is for money and personal profits. “Follow the money,” to find the corruption.

Kelly Naschke

Those are your opinions Paula. I asked for facts. Thanks. And isn’t the ACA also known by the name of its failed creator? AKA OBAMACARE?

Paula Flinn

Pity you cannot tell fact from opinion, Kelly, or you are too lazy to look them up. You would rather attack the messenger rather than the message. Did you learn that from some of your friends here? I taught reading skills for a number of years. Maybe it’s not too late for you to learn.

Kelly Naschke

So says the woman that seems incapable of separating fact from opinion. I asked YOU for SPECIFIC facts to support your commentary. Thus far you have been unable. You make my point for me Paula. Thank you.

Caleb Crocker

It is terrible when you can get a fisa warrant easier than health insurance

Kelly Naschke

Caleb, have the Clinton’s create a fake dossier about your health. It seemed to work for obtaining the FISA warrant.

Josh Butler

paula, I want clean air and water, too. If you can provide facts as to how rolling back red tape is negatively effecting air and water, I will listen. Meanwhile, the economy is growing and people are finding work. You will also pay less in taxes this year.

As for health care premiums for your friends, Obama owns that.

Paula Flinn

When Trump rolled back the regulations on clean water, it allowed corporations and coal mines to dump their waste in our rivers, lakes, and streams. The US spent a lot of money cleaning up the Hudson River, for example, in NY. It was a toxic waste dump. Our air quality in large cities was smoggy from industrial plants. A picture of Los Angeles in the 1970’s looked like Mexico City or China. Relaxing those regulations will cause those horrible conditions again because it is cheaper to dump waste in waterways instead of paying to dispose of it another way. It is cheaper to let toxic emissions into the air and make our air less clean to breathe. It is called Greed, a main vice of human nature. Without strict regulations, things will go back to the toxic ways they were before.

Josh Butler

Heavy on speculation, light on facts. How many technological advances have been made since the 70s? Cleaner cars, refineries, plants, etc. We aren't going back to the 70s.

Paula Flinn

Republicans have stripped the subsidies that accompanied the ACA and made the monthly payments cheaper. They also got rid of the mandate which made the payments for those still in it increase. Republicans have been chipping away at Obamacare since it was implemented. They don’t want poor people to have a health plan, in my opinion, otherwise they would design a plan that would be available to everyone with payments on a sliding scale. My son was able to purchase a plan through O. Care this year.
I will be happy to pay less in taxes next year, if that happens. The jury is still out on the economy. I will be happy if more people continue to find work and the economy continues to grow.

Carlos Ponce

RIP Obamacare.

Josh Butler

ACA was a terrible bill from the start. Premiums were skyrocketing before any changes were made.

Carlos Ponce

And many providers were dropping ACA BEFORE Trump was even elected. It was designed for failure by those who really wanted universal health coverage. Note to those who favored that: One size does NOT fit all.

Kelly Naschke

Go back to your original comment Paula. Reread it. Then reread my question and try again. It was a pretty simple question. I would expect that someone of your apparent intellectual superiority...will have a simple answer.

Paula Flinn

You are a nasty person enamored with your own questions and demands. You are not open-minded and think you know all of the answers. You are not playing with a full deck, so I will no longer answer your “baited” questions. This is my last post to you. I will ignore you and anything negative you have to say. You have a nasty attitude. I would guess that others have decided to ignore you also. JMHO

Paula Flinn

You are too negative, nasty, and snide. Not worth my time.

Carlos Ponce

Did someone have a bad day at the schoolhouse?

Paula Flinn

Ha, ha, Carlos! Nope, good day! Just want to end it that way!

Kelly Naschke

Wow Paula. I am speechless. Your inability to debate substantive issues and having to resort to insults speaks for itself. All I did was ask for facts to support your opinions. Sorry if that overwhelmed you, which it apparently did. Once again...you did a great job of proving my points for me. Thanks again!

Kelly Naschke

What is negative, nasty, and snide about asking you to provide facts that support your opinions?

Steve Fouga

No need to get fired up about the president's budget submittal. It will most likely be ignored by Congress, particularly in an election year. Congress just adopted a bipartisan, two-year budget accord that essentially spends more on everything, ignoring the president's 2018 budget and superseding this one.

The big puts and takes will be handled by the 116th Congress.

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