Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that the disaster relief bill passed by the Senate yesterday evening includes $50 million for the National Coastal Resilience Fund to restore and strengthen the natural infrastructure that protects coastal communities while safeguarding wildlife habitats. Whitehouse wrote the legislation that created the fund, which was originally authorized as the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund.
“I’m fighting every day in the Senate to prepare Rhode Island homes and businesses for the growing threat of sea level rise caused by climate change,” said Whitehouse. “Coastal resiliency funding can’t get to the Ocean State and other coastal states and territories quickly enough because these kinds of complicated projects often take years to design and execute. I’m grateful to my colleagues Congressmen Langevin and Cicilline for supporting this measure in the House.”
Funding for the National Coastal Resilience Fund was originally included in the version of the disaster relief bill that the House passed earlier this year.
Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) received a $280,000 grant from the inaugural round of funding of the National Coastal Resilience Fund last fall. CRMC is using the funding to identify sites along Rhode Island’s coastline vulnerable to sea level rise and design projects to prevent those areas from flooding.
CRMC projects the Rhode Island coastline will see between 9 and 12 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. The 2017 U.S. Atlantic hurricane season was the most expensive ever, causing $202.6 billion in damages and widespread harm to coastal communities and ecosystems.
The disaster relief package also makes major investments in getting Puerto Ricans and Midwesterners back on their feet in the wake of natural disasters.