Energy & Environment

Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce coastal resilience legislation

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A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that aims to protect against coastal and river flooding as climate change makes sea levels rise.

The bill, from Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), as well as Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), comes as resilience and adaptation is emerging as an area of bipartisan cooperation on climate change, an otherwise highly partisan issue. 

Their legislation would give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continuing authority to study and carry out projects that enhance resilience. It would also enable states and localities to request project designs that address climate-related problems. 

It would also lower the amount of money that local governments have to contribute to projects involving natural solutions and authorize the Corps to use its funds to protect and restore National Wildlife Refuges as well as National Parks, Seashore and Recreation Areas. 

A spokesperson for Carper said that the bill is likely to end up as part of the Water Resources Development Act, a large package that involves the Corps and typically passes every two years. 

In a statement, the senator, who also chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, emphasized the importance of protecting communities from climate change.

“We have to use all the resources at our disposal to safeguard coastal communities from worsening climate threats like extreme weather and rising sea level,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Cassidy emphasized the importance of protecting coastlines. 

“There will be a coastal community that survives because of this legislation,” he said.

The legislation’s announcement follows another bipartisan adaptation push.

Last month, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ​​Chris Coons (D-Del.) announced legislation that would require the federal government to develop a “National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy.” 

Tags Bill Cassidy Chris Coons Climate change coastal resilience Garret Graves Lisa Murkowski Rising sea levels Tom Carper

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