As part of the budget deal passed in February, Congress agreed to “spending caps” for FY18 and FY19. This facilitated the passage of a much-delayed FY18 budget, and should also make the FY19 budget easier – although not easy – to pass. Every indication is that Congress will try to get a budget passed and avoid a government shutdown/continuing resolution showdown right before the election. To that end, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell recently announced the Senate’s August recess would be cut short in order to pass appropriations bills.
While we await initial appropriations numbers for NOAA and others, Energy & Water appropriations (which includes all USACE Civil Works funding) is usually one of the first bills to move and on Friday June 8, it passed the full House of Representatives. In the Senate, the Energy & Water appropriations has passed appropriations committee, but has not come up for a final vote. ASBPA is working on a number of coastal programs which have proposed increases over FY18.
|Line Item||FY18 (current)
|House Bill:||Senate Mark-Up:|
|Shore Protection (construction)||$50 mil||$60 mil||$50 mil|
|Beneficial Use of Dredged Material (Cont. Auth. Prog.)||$1.5 mil||$10 mil*||$8.3 mil*|
|Regional Sediment Management||$8.95 mil*||$3.5 mil||$3.5 mil|
|Coastal Inlet Research||$2.975 mil||$2.7 mil||$7.975 mil|
|National Coastal Mapping||$6.3 mil||$10 mil||$13 mil|
|Coastal Ocean Data System||$6 mil||$6.5 mil||$6.5 mil|
|Coastal Field Data Collection||$1mil||$1 mil||$1 mil|
*The USACE FY18 work plan calls for $5 million from the Regional Sediment Management program to be used for implementing the Sec.1122 Beneficial Use of Dredged Material pilot projects; Congress directed the program to be funded from the CAP 204 program in FY19.
In the official report language that accompanies these bills, Congress addresses why some funding levels have been increased.
Shore protection, from the House of Representatives: “[The 2017 Disaster Response bill] included funding within the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies account to restore authorized shore protection projects to full project profile. That funding is expected to address most of the current year capability. Therefore, to ensure funding is not directed to where it cannot be used, the agreement includes $60,000,000 for construction of shore protection projects. The Corps is reminded that if additional work can be done, these projects are also eligible to compete for additional funding [$200 million] for flood and storm damage reduction.”
Beneficial Use of Dredged Material, from the House: “The Committee supports implementation of the [Beneficial Use of Dredged Material] pilot program authorized in section 1122 of the WIIN Act. To date, the Corps has not identified how these pilots would be funded, however. Therefore, the Corps is directed to fund these pilots, if otherwise competitive, under the CAP section 204 line item… The Corps shall not use Operation and Maintenance funds provided or allocated to the projects from which the dredged material is generated for costs beyond the costs of the Federal Standard.”
Coastal Inlet Research Program, from the Senate: “The Committee understands that communities, infrastructure, commerce, and resources that are tied to the coastal nearshore region are all vulnerable to damage from extreme coastal events and long-term coastal change. The Committee recommends additional funding [to the Coastal Inlet Research Program] to establish a multi-university-led effort to identify engineering frameworks to address coastal resilience needs, to develop adaptive pathways that lead to coastal resilience, measure the coastal forces that lead to infrastructure damage and erosion during extreme storm events, and to improve coupling of terrestrial and coastal models. Funding in addition to the budget request is also recommended for the Corps to continue work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Water Center on protecting the Nation’s water resources.”