The U.S. Senate Committee of Environment and Public Works (EPW) has accepted Senator Tim Kaine’s provisions to start new flood-resilience projects that would protect Tangier Island and Coastal Virginia.
The EPW Committee’s draft of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes two provisions that will result in roadmaps for new resilient infrastructure – a broad plan for the entire coastal region of Virginia and a specific one for Tangier Island.
Both provisions, when passed into law, will allow USACE to generate detailed plans for projects that reduce risk from sea level rise and recurrent flooding in these areas, which will in turn authorize Congress to fund those needs.
Kaine is now calling on his colleagues to join him in supporting the legislation that will be considered before the EPW Committee and then before the full Senate.
“This bill will help move the ball forward so we can defend Virginia’s coastal communities and resources against the negative effects of sea level rise,” Kaine said.
“From the cities of Hampton Roads to rural communities on the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and Eastern Shore, I hear from local leaders who are working on solutions to protect their homes and businesses and need us to do our part. Last summer, I traveled to Tangier Island to listen to the historic community’s unique and urgent needs. I am thankful to leaders on the Committee who included these projects in the legislation, and I ask my colleagues to recognize the clear need to protect these treasured pillars of the Virginia economy.”
The Tangier Island Study Authority will evaluate ecosystem restoration, flood risk management, and navigation options that reduce the island’s critical vulnerability to erosion and flood damage.
USACE estimates that if immediate action is not taken, Tangier Island could be substantially uninhabitable within the next 50 years due to erosion, widely believed to be caused by sea level rise due to climate change.