Norton Bill Making D.C. Eligible for Federal Flood Mitigation, Prevention Funds Passes House
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced 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, passed the House today. This is Norton’s fourth bill to pass the House this year. 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. Norton’s bill was included in a larger bill, the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act.
“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,” 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. 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, the District should be eligible for CZMA grants just like states and territories.”
Norton has passed four bills in the House this year, along with three 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.”