Norton Bill Making D.C. Eligible for Federal Flood Mitigation, Prevention Funds on House Floor Next Week

Dec 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that her bill to amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) to include the District of Columbia in the definition of a coastal state, which would make D.C. eligible for federal coastal zone management funding, is expected to be on the House floor next week.  Norton’s bill, the District of Columbia Flood Prevention Act, would give the District oversight for federally issued permits, facilities, and actions that affect the coastal waters of the District.  Norton said she believes the District’s omission from the CZMA was an unintentional oversight, as the CZMA was passed in 1972 – before the District achieved home rule – and the territories have been eligible along with states.

In her introductory statement on the bill, Norton said: “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 states and territories in the CZMA.  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 to be routinely under threat by floodwaters.  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 … Because both federal and DC assets are at risk, the District of Columbia should be eligible for CZMA grants just like the states and territories.”

Norton has already passed three bills in the House this year, along with four bills passed in committee. Norton was ranked the most effective House Democrat in the last Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking based on her “proven ability to advance a member’s agenda items through the legislative process and into law.”