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116th Congress   }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                     {      116-316

======================================================================



 
                     LIVING SHORELINES ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

 November 26, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Grijalva, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3115]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3115) to direct the Administrator of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make grants 
to State and local governments and nongovernmental 
organizations for purposes of carrying out climate-resilient 
living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities by 
supporting ecosystem functions and habitats with the use of 
natural materials and systems, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Living Shorelines Act of 2019''.

SEC. 2. LIVING SHORELINE GRANT PROGRAM.

  (a) Establishment.--The Administrator shall make grants to eligible 
entities for purposes of--
          (1) designing and implementing large- and small-scale, 
        climate-resilient living shoreline projects; and
          (2) applying innovative uses of natural materials and systems 
        to protect coastal communities, habitats, and natural system 
        functions.
  (b) Project Proposals.--To be eligible to receive a grant under this 
section, an eligible entity shall--
          (1) submit to the Administrator a proposal for a living 
        shoreline project, including monitoring, data collection, and 
        measurable performance criteria with respect to the project; 
        and
          (2) demonstrate to the Administrator that the entity has any 
        permits or other authorizations from local, State, and Federal 
        government agencies necessary to carry out the living shoreline 
        project or provide evidence demonstrating general support from 
        such agencies.
  (c) Project Selection.--
          (1) Development of criteria.--The Administrator shall select 
        eligible entities to receive grants under this section based on 
        criteria developed by the Administrator, in consultation with 
        relevant offices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration, such as the Office of Habitat Conservation, the 
        Office for Coastal Management, and the Restoration Center.
          (2) Considerations.--In developing criteria under paragraph 
        (1) to evaluate a proposed living shoreline project, the 
        Administrator shall take into account--
                  (A) the potential of the project to protect the 
                community and maintain the viability of the 
                environment, such as through protection of ecosystem 
                functions, environmental benefits, or habitat types, in 
                the area where the project is to be carried out;
                  (B) the historic and future environmental conditions 
                of the project site, particularly those environmental 
                conditions affected by climate change;
                  (C) the ecological benefits of the project; and
                  (D) the ability of the entity proposing the project 
                to demonstrate the potential of the project to protect 
                the coastal community where the project is to be 
                carried out, including through--
                          (i) mitigating the effects of erosion;
                          (ii) attenuating the impact of coastal storms 
                        and storm surge;
                          (iii) mitigating shoreline flooding;
                          (iv) mitigating the effects of sea level 
                        rise, accelerated land loss, and extreme tides;
                          (v) sustaining, protecting, or restoring the 
                        functions and habitats of coastal ecosystems; 
                        or
                          (vi) such other forms of coastal protection 
                        as the Administrator considers appropriate.
          (3) Priority.--In selecting living shoreline projects to 
        receive grants under this section, the Administrator shall give 
        priority consideration to a proposed project to be conducted in 
        an area--
                  (A) for which the President has declared, during the 
                10-year period preceding the submission of the proposal 
                for the project under subsection (b), that a major 
                disaster exists pursuant to section 401 of the Robert 
                T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
                Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) because of a hurricane, tropical 
                storm, coastal storm, or flooding; or
                  (B) that has a documented history of coastal erosion 
                or frequent coastal inundation during that 10-year 
                period.
          (4) Minimum standards.--
                  (A) In general.--The Administrator shall develop 
                minimum standards to be used in selecting eligible 
                entities to receive grants under this section, taking 
                into account--
                          (i) the considerations described in paragraph 
                        (2); and
                          (ii) the need for such standards to be 
                        general enough to accommodate concerns relating 
                        to specific project sites.
                  (B) Consultations.--In developing standards under 
                subparagraph (A), the Administrator--
                          (i) shall consult with relevant offices of 
                        the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
                        Administration, such as the Office of Habitat 
                        Conservation, the Office for Coastal 
                        Management, and the Restoration Center; and
                          (ii) may consult with--
                                  (I) relevant interagency councils, 
                                such as the Estuary Habitat Restoration 
                                Council;
                                  (II) State coastal management 
                                agencies; and
                                  (III) relevant nongovernmental 
                                organizations.
  (d) Use of Funds.--A grant awarded under this section to an eligible 
entity to carry out a living shoreline project may be used by the 
eligible entity only--
          (1) to carry out the project, including administration, 
        design, permitting, entry into negotiated indirect cost rate 
        agreements, and construction; and
          (2) to monitor, collect, and report data on the performance 
        (including performance over time) of the project, in accordance 
        with standards issued by the Administrator under subsection 
        (f)(2).
  (e) Cost-Sharing.--
          (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), an 
        eligible entity that receives a grant under this section to 
        carry out a living shoreline project shall provide, from non-
        Federal sources, funds or other resources (such as land or 
        conservation easements or in-kind matching from private 
        entities) valued at not less than 50 percent of the total cost, 
        including administrative costs, of the project.
          (2) Reduced matching requirement for certain communities.--
        The Administrator may reduce or waive the matching requirement 
        under paragraph (1) for an eligible entity representing a 
        community or nonprofit organization if--
                  (A) the eligible entity submits to the Administrator 
                in writing--
                          (i) a request for such a reduction and the 
                        amount of the reduction; and
                          (ii) a justification for why the entity 
                        cannot meet the matching requirement; and
                  (B) the Administrator agrees with the justification.
  (f) Monitoring and Reporting.--
          (1) In general.--The Administrator shall require each 
        eligible entity receiving a grant under this section (or a 
        representative of the entity) to carry out a living shoreline 
        project--
                  (A) to transmit to the Administrator data collected 
                under the project;
                  (B) to monitor the project and to collect data on--
                          (i) the ecological benefits of the project 
                        and the protection provided by the project for 
                        the coastal community where the project is 
                        carried out, including through--
                                  (I) mitigating the effects of 
                                erosion;
                                  (II) attenuating the impact of 
                                coastal storms and storm surge;
                                  (III) mitigating shoreline flooding;
                                  (IV) mitigating the effects of sea 
                                level rise and extreme tides;
                                  (V) sustaining, protecting, or 
                                restoring the functions and habitats of 
                                coastal ecosystems; or
                                  (VI) such other forms of coastal 
                                protection as the Administrator 
                                considers appropriate; and
                          (ii) the performance of the project in 
                        providing such protection;
                  (C) to make data collected under the project 
                available on a publicly accessible internet website of 
                the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 
                and
                  (D) not later than one year after the entity receives 
                the grant, and annually thereafter until the completion 
                of the project, to submit to the Administrator a report 
                on--
                          (i) the measures described in subparagraph 
                        (B); and
                          (ii) the effectiveness of the project in 
                        increasing protection of the coastal community 
                        where the project is carried out through living 
                        shorelines techniques, including--
                                  (I) a description of--
                                          (aa) the project;
                                          (bb) the activities carried 
                                        out under the project; and
                                          (cc) the techniques and 
                                        materials used in carrying out 
                                        the project; and
                                  (II) data on the performance of the 
                                project in providing protection to that 
                                coastal community.
          (2) Guidelines.--In developing guidelines relating to 
        paragraph (1)(C), the Administrator shall consider how 
        additional data could safely be collected before and after 
        major disasters or severe weather events to measure project 
        performance and project recovery.
          (3) Standards.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator 
                shall, in consultation with relevant offices of the 
                National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
                relevant interagency councils, and relevant 
                nongovernmental organizations, issue standards for the 
                monitoring, collection, and reporting under subsection 
                (d)(2) of data regarding the performance of living 
                shoreline projects for which grants are awarded under 
                this section.
                  (B) Reporting.--The standards issued under 
                subparagraph (A) shall require an eligible entity 
                receiving a grant under this section to report the data 
                described in that subparagraph to the Administrator on 
                a regular basis.
  (g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated $50,000,000 to the Administrator for each of fiscal years 
2020 through 2025 for purposes of carrying out this section.
  (h) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration.
          (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means any 
        of the following:
                  (A) A unit of a State or local government.
                  (B) An organization described in section 501(c)(3) of 
                the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that is exempt from 
                taxation under section 501(a) of such Code.
                  (C) An Indian Tribe (as defined in section 4 of the 
                Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act 
                (25 U.S.C. 5304)).
          (3) Living shoreline project.--The term ``living shoreline 
        project''--
                  (A) means a project that--
                          (i) restores or stabilizes a shoreline, 
                        including marshes, wetlands, and other 
                        vegetated areas that are part of the shoreline 
                        ecosystem, by using natural materials and 
                        systems to create buffers to attenuate the 
                        impact of coastal storms, currents, flooding, 
                        and wave energy and to prevent or minimize 
                        shoreline erosion while supporting coastal 
                        ecosystems and habitats;
                          (ii) incorporates as many natural elements as 
                        possible, such as native wetlands, submerged 
                        aquatic plants, oyster shells, native grasses, 
                        shrubs, or trees;
                          (iii) utilizes techniques that incorporate 
                        ecological and coastal engineering principles 
                        in shoreline stabilization; and
                          (iv) to the extent possible, maintains or 
                        restores existing natural slopes and 
                        connections between uplands and adjacent 
                        wetlands or surface waters;
                  (B) may include the use of--
                          (i) natural elements, such as sand, wetland 
                        plants, logs, oysters or other shellfish, 
                        submerged aquatic vegetation, native grasses, 
                        shrubs, trees, or coir fiber logs;
                          (ii) project elements that provide ecological 
                        benefits to coastal ecosystems and habitats in 
                        addition to shoreline protection; and
                          (iii) structural materials, such as stone, 
                        concrete, wood, vinyl, oyster domes, or other 
                        approved engineered structures in combination 
                        with natural materials; and
                  (C) may include a project that expands upon or 
                restores natural living shorelines or existing living 
                shoreline projects.
          (4) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the several 
        States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
        Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, 
        and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 3115 is to direct the Administrator of 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make 
grants to State and local governments and nongovernmental 
organizations for purposes of carrying out climate-resilient 
living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities by 
supporting ecosystem functions and habitats with the use of 
natural materials and systems, and for other purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Urbanization along the coast has historically led to the 
construction of hard armoring structures, such as seawalls, 
bulkheads, and revetments, to reduce erosion and flooding in 
coastal communities. Armored shorelines make up as much as 50 
percent of the shore in some urbanized areas,\1\ despite the 
significant negative ecological consequences commonly 
documented in armored areas.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Donna Marie Bilkovic et al., The Role of Living Shorelines as 
Estuarine Habitat Conservation Strategies, 44(3) Coastal Mgmt. 161, 161 
(2016), https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2016.1160201. See generally 
Rachel K. Gittman et al., Engineering Away Our Natural Defenses: An 
Analysis of Shoreline Hardening in the US, 13(6) Frontiers in Ecology & 
the Env't 301 (2015), https://doi.org/10.1890/150065.
    \2\See, e.g., Rachel K. Gittman et al., Ecological Consequences of 
Shoreline Hardening: A Meta-Analysis, 66(9) BioScience 763 (2016), 
https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biw091.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Living shorelines are a form of nature-based infrastructure 
that uses native plants, rock, sand, oysters, and other natural 
elements to stabilize shorelines as an alternative to hard 
shoreline stabilization techniques.\3\ Living shorelines can 
include marshes, wetlands, and other vegetated areas that 
attenuate coastal storms, currents, flooding, and wave energy 
to prevent or minimize shoreline erosion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Understanding Living Shorelines, NOAA Fisheries (June 19, 2017), 
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/understanding-living-shorelines.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In recognition of the numerous benefits of living 
shorelines, including improved ecological function,\4\ carbon 
sequestration,\5\ and shoreline stabilization,\6\ living 
shorelines are being installed around the country to protect 
coastal communities and ecosystems.\7\ Federal agencies, 
including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
Environmental Protection Agency, and Army Corps of Engineers, 
have provided funding and design assistance for living 
shoreline installations,\8\ and several states have enacted 
regulations to encourage or require installation of living 
shorelines as an alternative to non-natural structures.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\See, e.g., Rachel K. Gittman et al., Living Shorelines Can 
Enhance the Nursey Role of Threatened Estuarine Habitats, 26(1) 
Ecological Applications 249 (2016), https://doi.org/10.1890/14-0716.
    \5\See generally Jenny L. Davis et al., Living Shorelines: Coastal 
Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit, 10(11) PLoS ONE (2015), https://
doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142595.
    \6\See, e.g., Rachel K. Gittman et al., Marshes with and without 
Sills Protect Estuarine Shorelines from Erosion Better Than Bulkheads 
During a Category 1 Hurricane, 102(A) Ocean & Coastal Mgmt. 94 (2014), 
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.09.016.
    \7\See, e.g., NOAA's Living Shorelines Projects, NOAA, https://
www.habitatblueprint.noaa.gov/storymap/ls/index.html (last visited Nov. 
19, 2019); Stijn Temmerman et al., Ecosystem-Based Coastal Defence in 
the Face of Global Change, 504 Nature 79 (2013), https://doi.org/
10.1038/nature12859.
    \8\Bilkovic et al., supra note 1.
    \9\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3115 was introduced on June 5, 2019, by Representative 
Frank Pallone (D-NJ). The bill was referred solely to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. On July 25, 2019, 
the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing 
on the bill. On September 25, 2019, the Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee was 
discharged by unanimous consent. Representatives Joe Cunningham 
(D-SC) and Garret Graves (R-LA) offered an amendment designated 
amendment #1. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote. The 
bill, as amended, was adopted and ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by a roll call vote of 22 yeas and 
13 nays, as follows:

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress, the following hearing was used to develop or 
consider H.R. 3115: legislative hearing by the Subcommittee on 
Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held on July 25, 2019.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

Section 2. Living shorelines grant program.

    This section establishes a grant program to fund the 
design, implementation, and monitoring of large- and small-
scale climate resilient living shoreline projects intended to 
protect coastal communities and ecosystem function from 
environmental conditions, particularly those impacted by 
climate change. Living shoreline projects include any project 
that restores or stabilizes a shoreline by using natural 
materials and systems to attenuate the impacts of natural 
hazards or minimizes shoreline erosion while supporting coastal 
ecosystems and habitats.
    Funding priority would be given to communities that have 
recently suffered from a major natural disaster and communities 
with a documented history of coastal erosion and frequent 
coastal inundation. Matching funds of 50 percent would be 
required for most projects; however, the requirement may be 
reduced or waived if determined appropriate by the Secretary. 
Monitoring and reporting for funded projects are required to 
determine the effectiveness and benefits of living shorelines.
    This bill authorizes $50 million for fiscal years 2020-2025 
to carry out this Act. States, territories, District of 
Columbia, nonprofits, and tribes are eligible to apply for 
funding.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, October 7, 2019.
Hon. Raul M. Grijalva,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3115, the Living 
Shorelines Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    H.R. 3115 would authorize the appropriation of $50 million 
a year over the 2020-2025 period for the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration to make grants to state and local 
governments, nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes to 
design and implement projects that restore or stabilize 
shorelines. Such projects would use natural materials to create 
buffers to lessen shoreline erosion by minimizing the impact of 
storms, currents, and flooding.
    Using historical spending patterns for similar grant 
programs, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3115 would cost 
$175 million over the 2020-2024 period and $125 million after 
2024, assuming the appropriation of the authorized amounts. The 
costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within 
budget function 300 (natural resources and environment).

                                   TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 3115
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               2020   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025   2026   2027   2028   2029  2020-2024  2020-2029
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Authorization...............................................     50     50     50     50     50     50      0      0      0      0        250        300
Estimated Outlays...........................................     10     25     40     50     50     50     40     25     10      0        175        300
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goals and 
objectives of this bill are to direct the Administrator of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make grants 
to State and local governments and nongovernmental 
organizations for purposes of carrying out climate-resilient 
living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities by 
supporting ecosystem functions and habitats with the use of 
natural materials and systems.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                 UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT STATEMENT

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           EXISTING PROGRAMS

    This bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of 
the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
program. Such program was not included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139. The Living Shoreline Grant 
Program established by the bill at Section 2 is related and 
complementary to, but not duplicative of, the following 
programs identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance published pursuant to 31 U.S.C. Sec. 6104: 
Marine Minerals Activities (CFDA No. 15.424), Bureau of Ocean 
Energy Management (BOEM) Environmental Studies (ES) (CFDA No. 
15.423), Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief--Coastal Resiliency 
Grants (CFDA No. 15.153), Environmental Policy and Innovation 
Grants (CFDA No. 66.611), and Emergency Management Performance 
Grants (CFDA No. 97.042).

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

               PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL LAW

    Any preemptive effect of this bill over state, local, or 
tribal law is intended to be consistent with the bill's 
purposes and text and the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the 
U.S. Constitution.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 3115 is duplicative and wasteful. The bill attempts to 
create yet another federal environmental grant program for 
developing ``living shoreline systems.''
    During the hearing on H.R. 3115, the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) witness, Rear Admiral 
Gallaudet, testified that, ``the agency currently provides 
financial and technical assistance to coastal communities for 
the use of living shorelines through existing programs. The 
National Coastal Resilience Fund is a partnership between NOAA 
and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that funds 
projects that protect coastal communities while enhancing fish 
and wildlife habitat, including living shorelines projects. 
Additionally, NOAA's Community-based Habitat Restoration 
Program provides funds for the use of living shoreline and 
related techniques for marine and coastal habitat 
restoration.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Written Testimony by RDML Tim Gallaudet, Deputy NOAA 
Administrator, Hearing July 25, 2019.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The fund referenced by Rear Admiral Gallaudet received $30 
million in fiscal year (FY) 2019.\2\ The House-passed FY 2020 
appropriation bill for NOAA doubles the funding to $60 
million.\3\ H.R. 3115 would authorize an additional $50 million 
per year for the same work. There is no logical reason to 
authorize yet another grant program when the current program is 
being funded so generously.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\H. Rept. 116-9 (Conference Report).
    \3\H. Rept. 116-101.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even worse, this legislation strays from the long-standing 
Congressional intent of providing eligible coastal States and 
territories the flexibility to design programs that best 
address local challenges by inserting federal priorities into a 
State-run program. For these reasons, we oppose this 
legislation.

                                   Rob Bishop.
                                   Jody B. Hice.

                                  [all]