Energy & Environment

Lawmakers call on Biden to put $10 billion toward coastal restoration

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Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Bill Posey (R-Fla.) called on President Biden to commit $10 billion to coastal restoration and resilience efforts Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to Biden, the representatives note that under the Obama administration, $167 million in stimulus funding was appropriated for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Habitat Conservation for coastal restoration. 

The letter goes on to state that such projects can serve as major economic stimulus for coastal areas, noting that projects funded by the appropriation restored more than 25,584 acres of coastal habitat.

The lawmakers added that restoration projects also supported an average of 15 jobs per million dollars spent, and the projects supported as many as 30 jobs per million spent on major, labor-intensive restorations, such as oyster reef construction.

The letter further states that restoration of blue carbon ecosystems in coastal areas could keep up to a gigaton of carbon dioxide out of the earth’s atmosphere by 2050.

“These funds should be used for projects like blue carbon sequestration that improve adaptation to climate change; natural infrastructure to protect coastal communities from sea level rise, coastal storms, and flooding; the restoration of habitat to protect or recover threatened or endangered species, including fisheries; and efforts to remove marine debris,” the letter states.

“In distributing the funds, NOAA should balance investments in shovel-ready, mid-term, and long-term projects and give significant consideration to job creation potential. We would also encourage NOAA to make applicant and geographical diversity a priority.”

Bonamici and Posey went on to call for the Biden administration to create an Advanced Research Project Agency for ocean technology development specifically as part of a future recovery package. The letter notes that the Obama-era recovery package established a similar agency for energy.

“An ARPA-O would complement existing efforts that would benefit from supplemental funding, including the eleven Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) regional coastal observing networks, which deliver accurate and continuous data on our ocean and coasts,” they added.

Tags Bill Posey Joe Biden Suzanne Bonamici

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