WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18) and Don Beyer (VA-8) today introduced the National Ocean and Coastal Security Improvements Act. The bill would support coastal communities’ ability to prepare for and respond to a variety of coastal threats, including extreme weather events, climate hazards and changing ocean conditions by improving coastal infrastructure and supporting coastal research, resiliency, conservation, and restoration work. 

“In Florida, we know all too well that the cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is especially true when it comes to our environment,” Rep. Mast said. “Making this investment now is critical to heading off an even more expensive mess in the future.  I thank Congressman Beyer for spearheading this legislation and look forward to working with him to get it across the finish line.”  

Coastal resilience continues to be a critical mission for National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Ocean Service. The bill aims to support these missions by helping communities go beyond being “storm-ready” to being able to adapt to changing economic, social, and environmental conditions and effectively respond to new threats to infrastructure, local economies, ecosystem health and national security.

“We are already beginning to experience the effects of sea-level rise both here in Virginia’s Eighth District and across the country, which is the reason resiliency planning is so important. Congress must do more to enhance coastal resilience efforts,” Rep. Beyer said. “I thank my colleague Congressman Brian Mast for his leadership on the National Oceans and Coastal Security Improvements Act so we can protect our coasts for generations to come.” 

The bipartisan legislation would improve upon the current coastal resilience program by clarifying definitions for “tidal shoreline” and “Indian Tribe,” specifying percentages for how the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund shall be used for federal grants and detailing specific eligible uses for the Fund’s grant programs. Further, the bill explains additional requirements to receive financial support from the Fund.