NFIP Expiration (143 days)
Government Shutdown (-18 days)
Will the President take money and personnel from the Corps to build his wall? Reports from various sources say that he plans to invoke, or threaten to invoke, a 1976 law that allows him to use extraordinary powers during a declared “national emergency”. Existing law says that the President “may (1) terminate or defer the construction, operation, maintenance, or repair of any Department of the Army civil works project that he deems not essential to the national defense, and (2) apply [those] resources….including funds, personnel, and equipment, to construct or assist in the construction….of authorized civil works, military construction, and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense” (33 U.S. Code 2293). The Corps annual budget is just a bit more than the projected $6 billion wall cost, but it got $15 billion in post-disaster funds from Congress last year, most of which is unspent. So if you hear that he’s using his “national emergencies” power to fund building the wall, Corps dredging and construction projects funded from either FY18 supplemental or FY19 Work Plan might be put on hold.
New Chairs - There are some new kids on the block, and unlike other news sources, we don’t have any particular attention to pay to ‘AOC’ (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - do you think she deserves an acronym?). We do, however, have some attention to give to the new committee chairs. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) has taken the gavel for the House Natural Resources Committee. Reports call him the ‘man for the moment’ as he is willing to speak out on environmental issues. Rep. Grijalva continues to believe in the need for comprehensive energy legislation that meets the nation’s energy needs, creates green jobs and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. He understands the importance of investing in clean energy and preventing the potentially catastrophic effects global warming could have on our farms, coasts, and oceans.
We continue to have strong support for water resources projects from Rep. Peter DeFazio, who will return as the Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure committee. Having an elected official with their own local and state priorities will help influence Federal policies and programs that support our concerns about limited water resources funding and projects. We hope both of these chairs will be strong advocates for our coasts and ecosystems. We also have a new Republican staff director, Paul Sass, for the T&I committee.
Flood Insurance – Senators Bob Menendez and Sheldon Whitehouse have banded together to draw attention to the SAFE NFIP Act. The bill exhibits common sense proposals and provides clauses that make it a truly innovative NFIP bill. Plus, at this point, any extension longer than a few months will practically be considered revolutionary. The NFIP has been reauthorized 19 times since 2008. This one calls for six years.
Legislation has been introduced that creates a carbon tax with dividends paid to the American people. It is revenue-neutral, bi-partisan and protects consumers and the economy. Click here for a one pager and here for the bill text. The Goal of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is to help to create 2.1 million net new jobs and reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 33% within a decade.
Did you miss…
The Times’ “Favorite Climate Stories You Might Have Missed in 2018”? If you did, now it’s 2019, and (unfortunately) “This is Our Reality Now.” I highly recommend these articles.