Aerial view of the Mississippi River delta near New Orleans.
Mississippi River Delta Mississippi River Delta and River below New Orleans, Louisiana © Bridgett Besaw

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Bipartisan Push to Bolster Coastal Resilience

U.S. Senate bill would expand and create new funding sources for community infrastructure, nature-focused solutions.

Coastal communities would receive a boost in federal assistance to enhance their resilience to climate change and extreme weather events under a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill introduced today.

Extreme weather events have caused more than $1 trillion in damages in the United States since 1980. The Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., would increase investments in projects and programs related to enhancing infrastructure resilience, hurricane protection, habitat restoration and combatting coastal erosion, among others.

To do so, the bill would expand and establish new revenue sharing from offshore energy. A portion of revenues from offshore wind energy would go into the National Ocean and Coastal Security Fund. Those funds would also be distributed to coastal and Great Lakes states as well as U.S. territories via formula and competitive grants. 

The bill would also expand the share of oil and gas revenue under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act that goes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For both the offshore wind and oil and gas revenues, the bill would also expand funding that goes to adjacent states as revenue sharing to offset more direct impacts.

Signing on as original co-sponsors are: Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Chris Coons, D-Del., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Angus King, I-Maine, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of North American policy and government relations for The Nature Conservancy:

The RISEE Act is a recognition that our coastal communities need more support, and that nature can—and must—be part of the solution.

TNC's Director of North American Policy and Government Relations

“The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is inflicting unprecedented and costly damage to coastal communities. To simply rebuild after a storm is not enough. The challenges of a changing climate require new investments and strategies that will enable coastal communities to be more resilient and prepared for what’s next. The RISEE Act is a recognition that our coastal communities need more support, and that nature can—and must—be part of the solution.

“Investments in nature can not only improve the resilience of coastal communities’ infrastructure, they can provide incredible economic, environmental and societal benefits. By supplementing and complementing existing programs with additional resources, the RISEE Act would fund the solutions communities sorely need. We look forward to working with members of Congress to advance this legislation.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.