(WASHINGTON) June 17, 2021 – New bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate today would change current policy to allow states to share in the revenue generated by offshore wind projects located in federal waters for the first time, and dedicate that funding to coastal restoration. The bill would also strengthen funding for coastal restoration that comes from oil and gas revenue by enhancing the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2016.
The Reinvesting in Shoreline Economy and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act, introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), ensures strong funding for coastal restoration, which means coastal states will be more prepared for and able to mitigate the effects of climate change, including increased frequency and strength of storms, increased flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion.
“It’s important to restore our coasts not only to solve our climate crisis, but to also protect communities in harm’s way,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy at the National Audubon Society. ”When we restore coastal habitats like wetlands, they can absorb flood waters and carbon dioxide more effectively, lessening the impacts of storms, while acting as an important tool to curb climate emissions.”
The bill would increase the amount of revenue coming from offshore wind, oil, and gas for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund would be used to mitigate impact to wildlife, restore coastal areas, increase hurricane protection, and support federally-approved marine and coastal comprehensive conservation management plans. The Land and Water Conservation Fund restores natural landscapes, enhances recreation, and protects wildlife.
“By capturing revenue from energy sources, we are mitigating the impacts of oil and gas extraction while encouraging investment in clean wind energy sources,” said Greenberger. “We’ll not only be protecting the birds that we love, we’ll also be using these funds to support communities and habitats that are especially vulnerable to climate change.”
A 2019 Audubon report found that unless the rate of global temperature increase is slowed, two-thirds of North American bird species will be vulnerable to extinction. Clean energy like offshore wind is key to the survival of billions of birds. The National Audubon Society supports wind energy projects that are responsibly sited to minimize, mitigate, and avoid harmful impacts to birds and other wildlife, and that reduces harm to communities that have historically shouldered the worst impacts of climate change.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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