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Inlet Closure Causes Businesses to Lose Millions

Boat builders on the Outer Banks say they're losing millions of dollars worth of business as the Oregon Inlet remains closed. The water there has been too shallow to allow vessels through since November. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it can not afford the $17 million it needs to dredge the inlet. Some business owners told Dare County Commissioners this week they might relocate if the inlet remains impassible. John Bayliss owns a boat building company in Wanchese.

John Bayliss: "We've all been through blows that last two weeks and you think, 'Oh my gosh, is this ever going to end? We've got to get back out,' because boat payments are coming, maintenance needs to be done and so forth. But to be just absolutely, with beautiful weather, sitting here for six weeks because you can't get out is just unacceptable. That's unacceptable."

Bayliss says leaving the inlet impassible also gives it a reputation as a dangerous waterway. County Commissioners say they're asking North Carolina's Congressional delegation to fast track the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that would provide funds to dredge the inlet.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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