By BRUCE SMITH
ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (AP) - There are more federal dollars available this year to rebuild beaches than at any time during the past 15 years, thanks to the end of congressional earmarks.
The American Beach & Shore Protection Association says that, since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now decides about specific projects, $25 million more has been set aside for beach renourishment this federal fiscal year.
The association's president is Harry Simmons, mayor of Caswell Beach, N.C. Simmons says he doesn't know if it's a better system than earmarks, but that there are more dollars for renourishment.
The federal government will spend about $125 million this year of about $300 million spent annually on beach projects nationwide. But the association says $450 million is needed to deal with all the eroding beaches.