Congresswoman Luria Delivers Coastal Resiliency Win for Military Communities

December 10, 2019
Press Release
Rep. Luria’s Amendment Included in Bipartisan Bill to Advance Coastal Virginia’s National Security and Environmental Interests

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria announced House passage of the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729). This bipartisan bill contains her amendment advancing the coastal resiliency of military communities.

“Rising sea levels and recurrent flooding present immense challenges to communities throughout Hampton Roads as well as our nation’s military readiness,” Congresswoman Luria said. “My amendment improves H.R. 729 to better position military communities in Coastal Virginia.” 

H.R. 729 would establish a grant program directing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award grants to state and local governments to implement living shoreline projects. These projects restore and stabilize shorelines, including marshes, wetlands, and other parts of the shoreline ecosystem by using materials such as plants and oyster shells. 

Congresswoman Luria’s amendment would ensure that the NOAA considers the potential of a living shoreline project that support resiliency at military installations or community infrastructure supportive of a military installation.

The Department of Defense’s 2019 Report on the Effects of a Changing Climate found “the greater Hampton Roads area is one of the most vulnerable to flooding military installations in the United States.” Congresswoman Luria’s amendment would encourage the NOAA to fund projects that bolster these installations from the threats of imminent flooding.

The amendment passed the House today in a 368-51 vote.

Ahead of the House’s passage of Congresswoman Luria’s amendment, she gave opening remarks on the House Floor. See below for transcribed remarks.

Opening Remarks

I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 729, the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act.

My amendment directs NOAA to consider the potential of proposed living shoreline projects to enhance the resiliency of military installations and the communities that support them.

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense found that well over half of the highest-priority military installations are or will be at risk of recurrent flooding. The report found that greater Hampton Roads is one of the areas “most vulnerable to flooding” in the entire United States.

Hampton Roads is home to the largest Navy base in the world and installations from every branch of service. When it floods in Coastal Virginia, it is both a local nuisance as well as a threat to our national security.

Coastal Virginians are stepping up to meet this challenge. The cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach have proposed almost one-and-a-half billion dollars in coastal resiliency infrastructure.

But Hampton Roads – and other coastal localities with military presence – cannot bear the costs of sea level rise, severe storms, and recurrent flooding alone.

My amendment will strengthen H.R. 729 by ensuring that NOAA takes into account the crucial role resiliency projects can play in bolstering both national security and our local communities.

I urge all my colleagues to support this amendment.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.