NJ congressman’s bill tackles climate change with coastal resources

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Building on a previous version that was passed by the House of Representatives but not the US Senate, the newly introduced legislation by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, aims to use some natural resources to support coastal flooding. resilience to climate change.

The Living Shorelines Act of 2021 would focus on dunes, wetlands and oyster reefs, which Pallone said is a change from previous strategies that emphasized jetties, groynes and restocking. ranges, although he added that both approaches can work simultaneously.

“Keyport is on the bay, so the ocean currents aren’t as strong, but these grants can be used anywhere,” Pallone said, referring to the town of Jersey Shore where its 2019 legislation was unveiled and both federal grants proposed in the invoice. “We have this as a grant program to give to cities so that they can use these natural protections, as well as another grant program for research on them, and their effectiveness and profitability.”

The grants total $ 55 million.

Allocating the money to individual towns is key, Pallone said, because every beach town knows what has worked best for them in the past. Some ideas work, others don’t, and often a hybrid of different protection efforts is most appropriate.

“You can still have sand and herbs from the dunes, but the focus has not been on these natural or living shores,” Pallone said.

Although this is a federal bill, it was suggested to Pallone by New Jersey environmental groups and is expected to benefit the Garden State’s coastline, sea level rise s worsening from year to year.

Pallone said using these natural resources can improve water quality, filter pollution, better protect coastal wildlife and reduce carbon levels in the local environment.

The congressman hopes that the bill will be fully adopted during this session; Vice President Kamala Harris was her primary sponsor in her previous iteration as a senator, and Pallone expects the Senate, in which Harris is now the deciding vote, to follow.

“I think we have a good chance of getting this bill passed through the Senate, on the president’s desk and signed,” he said.

Patrick Lavery is the anchor for the New Jersey 101.5 afternoon news. Follow it on Twitter @ plavery1015 or send an email to patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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