Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved several initiatives led by Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) to increase federal investments in climate resilience and help communities that are dealing with persistent flooding. The Fiscal Year 2021 funding bills provide funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support communities across the region that are working to manage flood risks and threats from coastal hazards. The $9 million invested in this program represents an 80% increase in this funding. The bills also provide $78 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Zone Management Grants and $36 million for the National Coastal Resilience Fund, rejecting the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate these key programs which provide critical planning and technical assistance to states and tribes to deal with persistent flooding.
“Our region has seen severe storms and rising sea levels threaten entire communities on our coasts,” said Rep. Kilmer. “As we work to combat climate change, we need to take steps to mitigate the immediate challenges that threaten public safety, public access, and cultural landmarks of our coastal communities. I’m working to ensure that the federal government steps up and provides the resources needed to ensure we protect communities and keep people out of harm’s way. This legislation is a step in the right direction, and I was proud to lead a number of initiatives within it to ensure we not only combat the climate crisis but create quality jobs and keep communities safe.”
“Rep. Kilmer has been a staunch friend and ally for the City of Ocean Shores, providing us with guidance and assistance when we needed it most. I’m grateful for his continued work to support coastal communities as we build resiliency from coastal hazards and threats, and coastal economies as we recover from COVID-19,” said Crystal L. Dingler, Mayor, City of Ocean Shores.
Rep. Kilmer also successfully fought against efforts by the Trump Administration to defund the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (NW CASC) housed at the University of Washington (UW). He successfully worked to secure nearly $63 million to grow investments in the nation’s eight regionally-focused CASCs, which provide actionable science and research that directly address many of the climate-related challenges unique to different regions of the country. In addition, he fought to include $190 million for NOAA’s Climate Research programs, including funding to support cutting-edge research on climate, ocean, and fishery science.
“The Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center at UW delivers critical actionable science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate in the region, and Representative Kilmer has been one of the biggest champions of the USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program,” said Amy Snover, NW CASC University Director and Director of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. “We at NW CASC are tremendously fortunate to have his continued and sustained advocacy on behalf of both the NW CASC in our state and the CASC program nationally.”
Rep. Kilmer also ensured that the Committee provided $17.95 million for the Tribal Climate Resilience program and directed the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to coordinate with federal agencies to leverage other federal resources to support a comprehensive approach to support coastal tribal communities – including the Quinault, Hoh, Quileute, and Makah tribes, – that are actively working to make their communities more climate resilient.
“The FY 2021 Interior appropriations bill that will be considered in the House includes an over $188 million increase in funding from last fiscal year for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Special Trustee,” said Fawn Sharp, President, Quinault Indian Nation. “This legislation is an important step by the federal government in meeting its role as trustee to Native American Tribes. I would like to thank Congressman Derek Kilmer for his efforts as a member of the Appropriations Committee and for his leadership in addressing the continued federal funding shortfall for Native Americans as determined in the Broken Promises report of December 2018 and for his work to protect and support coastal tribes. I urge the House and Senate to expeditiously pass this legislation.”
Rep. Kilmer also worked to secure critical funding to support early warning capabilities for natural hazards and disasters, including: at least $28.24 million for NOAA’s Tsunami Warning Centers and for the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program to support hazard identification and response; $25.7 million for the USGS for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System; a total of $30.69 million for the Volcano Hazards program to maintain support for next generation lahar detection operations and infrastructure on Mount Rainier and other high-threat volcanoes; and, $4.09 million for the Landslides Hazards program, which will help to prevent human and economic loss through the development of methods and models for landslide hazard assessment, monitoring, and tools for landslide early warning and situational awareness.