WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) today reintroduced their District of Columbia Flood Prevention Act, which would amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) to include the District of Columbia in the definition of a coastal state and give the District oversight for federally issued permits, facilities, and actions that affect the coastal waters of the District.
“Unlike other low-lying states and territories, the District of Columbia can’t tap into federal funds under the Coastal Zone Management Act. This law assists with flood control efforts and environmental restoration projects, which is critical for coastal states like Delaware,” Chairman Carper said. “With the climate crisis putting much of the District at an increased risk of costly flooding, we need to right this wrong. In addition to our push for statehood, Congresswoman Norton and I are teaming up to finally make D.C. eligible for CZMA funding through our legislation.”
“Even though the District is located on two rivers and has suffered substantial coastal floods in the past, D.C. was omitted from the list of eligible entities in the CZMA,” Congresswoman Norton said. “This oversight probably occurred because the CZMA was passed in 1972 – before the District achieved home rule. Because territories are included in the definition of ‘coastal states,’ it appears that D.C.’s omission was a mistake, which only Congress can correct.
“Scientists have predicted that the tides on the Atlantic Coast could rise two to four feet by the year 2100, causing as much as $7 billion worth of property in the District, which would regularly be under threat by floodwaters,” Congresswoman Norton continued. “This fact was highlighted by a study released by the nonprofit Climate Central last week. This damage not only would be to private homes and businesses, but the National Mall, federal buildings, and three military bases located in the District. Due to this threat and the urgency of acting on climate change, the District should be eligible for CZMA grants just like states and territories.”