Dunn’s Strengthening Coastal Communities Act Moves in the House

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02) addressing issues with the Coastal Barrier Resources maps will be voted on in the House this week. The Strengthening Coastal Communities Act of 2018 makes technical corrections to the Coastal Barrier Resources maps that are adversely affecting areas in Bay and Gulf counties. The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) was signed into law in 1982 and works to preserve our nation’s barrier islands by barring federal funds and financial assistance from being used there, which therefore disincentivizes development. Dr. Dunn’s legislation maintains these protections for our nation’s barrier islands, while simply providing for more precise digital maps to distinguish the CBRA zones.

Cosponsors of the legislation include Representatives Thomas Rooney (FL-17) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large). The legislation is also supported by the National Audubon Society.

Dr. Dunn spoke on the House floor in support of the Strengthening Coastal Communities Act on Monday.

Congressman Dunn:

Thank you Mr. Chairman and Mr. Speaker,

I’m grateful to be here today and for the opportunity to speak on this bi-partisan, common sense bill to provide much needed modernization and updates of the Coastal Barrier Resources System maps. I’d like to thank Chairman Bishop for his help throughout this process as well as my colleague on the other side of the aisle Representative Blunt- Rochester for her work on this issue.

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act, signed into law in 1982, is meant to preserve our nation’s barrier islands by barring federal funds and financial assistance from being used there, which therefore disincentivizes development.

This bill maintains these protections for our nation’s barrier islands, while simply providing for more precise digital maps to distinguish the CBRA zones.

For decades, some of my constituents throughout the 2nd District of Florida have been burdened by being erroneously included in CBRA zones. In some cases, this is due to the width of the pencil marks outlining the boundaries on the original outdated hand drawn maps. This was unacceptable in 1982 – it is simply outrageous in 2018. 

Now more than ever, in the wake of one of the most devastating hurricanes in American history, a lack of access to federal resources is particularly debilitating for residents in coastal communities across the Florida panhandle. This means no Flood insurance, FEMA assistance, or SBA loans. Being included in a CBRA zone in Florida even precludes the use of money resulting from the BP oil spill in 2010. I’m grateful that this bill will provide a remedy for some folks who are dealing with these unnecessary burdens.

I urge my colleagues to support the bill and encourage the senate to take it up before the end of the Congress.