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Congressman Don Young, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett Lead Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Bring Back Jobs Lost By COVID-19 and Build Resilient Infrastructure

Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Stacey E. Plaskett (D-VI) introduced the bipartisan Shovel-Ready Restoration Grants for Coastlines and Fisheries Act. This legislation authorizes $3 billion for shovel-ready resilience projects to help bring back jobs lost by COVID-19 and boost the climate resilience of our coastlines.

"Alaskans know how important the ocean is to our fishing industry and our broader economy," said Congressman Don Young. "Removing marine debris, bolstering ecological infrastructure, and increasing coastal resiliency is critical to protecting our coastal communities. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has affected Alaska's economy and devastated employment prospects for too many families across our state. If we are to overcome this pandemic's impacts, we must pursue new opportunities, such as shovel-ready coastal resilience projects, to help Alaskans secure jobs. I am proud to join Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett on this crucial legislation to provide grants for conservation projects that are standing by, approved, and ready to go. As Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus, I will continue working with my friends on both sides of the aisle to ensure that our oceans are strong for generations to come."

“Healthy coastal ecosystems provide critical social and environmental benefits. While the existence of these benefits is not in dispute, estimating their economic value is challenging,” said Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett. “Investing in coastal restoration is good policy. It’s not just the right thing to do for the environment; it’s the right thing to do for coastal communities, vulnerable coastal populations, and the U.S. economy. Congress must pass this legislation to strengthen our coastal resiliency and help countless Virgin Islanders who are out of work through no fault of their own.”

During the last major recession, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided $167 million through NOAA for coastal resilience projects that created jobs. At the time, however, NOAA received more than $3 billion in proposals for eligible projects. The ARRA grants were highly successful, making significant strides in coastal and marine restoration and stimulating the economy. The program created 17 jobs for every million dollars spent and generated $15 dollars in net economic benefits for every dollar invested.

This legislation mirrors and expands the 2009 program by creating a $3 billion grant program within NOAA for shovel-ready projects that restore or improve coastal habitats, resiliency, and the economy. Priority projects would stimulate the economy and could begin within 90 days of the grant awarded. Priority projects also would provide compensation to fishermen for either their labor or use of their fishing vessel.

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