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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2017

Contact: Leigh Habegger, (703) 524-0248 or lhabegger@estuaries.org

Administration Disaster Proposal Needs More to Address Long-Term Coastal

Community Resilience

WASHINGTON, DC – On November 17th, the Trump Administration released its third proposal for disaster funding to address the widespread destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma. While we are pleased to see the Administration continue to address the recovery and rebuilding needs of communities affected by these hurricanes, we were disappointed to see so few dollars going to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the purposes of building coastal resiliency and protecting against future storms. We strongly urge the Administration to fully fund coastal resiliency efforts by these agencies in its next iteration of funding. Additionally, to propose this funding be offset by cuts to other programs is shortsighted and will hamstring agencies’ ability to carry out their day-to-day work and hinder their ability to prepare for future disasters; we urge the Administration to rescind this portion of the proposal.

In this third proposal, we are very pleased to see the Administration signal their willingness to fund flood mitigation work through a $12 billion proposal that directs funding to the Community Develop Block Grant for flood mitigation projects. We strongly urge Congress to include language in their legislation that prioritizes nature-based infrastructure projects through this block grant program. Investing in these types of projects is not only a fiscally responsible action, but these infrastructure projects will also help reduce future damage to coastal communities as a result of hurricanes and flooding, thereby reducing future federal dollars spent on recovery and rebuilding.

Additionally, we are pleased to see this proposal directing nearly $29 million to NOAA and almost $211 million to USFWS to rebuild damaged labs, field offices, national marine sanctuaries, national estuarine research reserves, facilities, water control structures, roads and bridges, and recreational amenities. We strongly urge the Administration and Congress to also provide full funding to support long-term resiliency projects and initiatives that will better prepare communities for extreme weather events.

 “If we continue rebuilding to past pre-storm conditions, our communities will never be adequately prepared for the increasing intensity and frequency of future storms,” President and CEO, Jeff Benoit, said. “We must invest in innovative methods and technologies that will better serve our coastal communities and those living in the floodplain. Prioritizing projects that incorporate nature-based infrastructure is a sound investment of federal dollars, providing not only a $4 return on every $1 invested, but also providing flood mitigation, erosion control, storm surge protection, and habitat for more than 80% of commercially and recreationally important aquatic species. Nature-based infrastructure projects are a win-win-win.”

The time is NOW to ensure our coastal and floodplain communities are resilient and prepared to withstand future weather events. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is inevitable and nature-based infrastructure solutions offer a cost-effective way to address the challenges of climate change.

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Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1995. RAE leads a national alliance of ten coastal conservation organizations across the country dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation. www.estuaries.org.

 

You can view a PDF of this statement here.