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Year-End Bill Includes Bipartisan Wins for Water, Wildlife, Resilience

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The year-end legislation to fund critical government services includes crucial wins for water, wildlife, and resilience — including provisions in the Water Resources Development Act which the National Wildlife Federation championed — and should be promptly signed into law.

“We’re proud to see that crucial priorities we championed in the Water Resources Development Act — including provisions that will drive the use of natural defenses to make communities more resilient to climate-fueled floods and hurricanes — were included in the year-end funding bill,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when Congress has been unable to agree on anything, community resilience and natural climate solutions have been a pivotal point of agreement. Thank you to Chairmen Defazio and Barrasso and Ranking Members Graves and Carper for their bipartisan leadership on this legislation and provisions. The enactment of this critical bill will support restoration and resilience efforts across the country.” 

The Water Resources Development provisions in the omnibus bill include:

  • Provisions that remove barriers to, and drive use of natural infrastructure, including by ensuring that natural infrastructure solutions will benefit from the same cost-share requirements as non-structural measures.  
  • Careful evaluation of natural infrastructure solutions to protect communities from storms and floods, including a pilot program that provides full federal funding for flood and storm risk reduction studies for economically disadvantaged communities and ensures robust evaluation of natural infrastructure solutions.  
  • Implementation of the Water Resources Principles, Requirements and Guidelines (PR&G) by the Corps, including fully engaging the public in that effort.  Effective implementation of the PR&G will bring the Corps’ water resources planning process in line with 21st century water resources management principles, and improve water resources planning across the board.
  • Updating Corps policies on environmental justice considerations and community engagement and consultation, and expansion of Corps consultation requirements with Tribal and indigenous groups when working on or adjacent to Tribal lands and areas.

The National Wildlife Federation worked across the aisle and with congressional leaders to include a series of common-sense provisions in the year-end omnibus and coronavirus-relief packages. In addition to important clean-energy provisions, an affirmation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes water rights, and restoration of tribal control of the National Bison Range,  the bill also included provisions to:

  • Extend the black lung excise tax, which funds the Black lung Disability Trust Fund, for one year;
  • Phase out 85 percent of hydrofluorocarbons, which are among the most potent greenhouse gases, by 2035 and position the United States to lead the world in avoiding up to 0.5 degree Celsius of warming. 

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