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PNS Daily Newscast - July 2, 2020 


The White House says no response is planned to reported Russian bounties on U.S. troops; House Democrats unveil an ambitious plan to curb climate change.

2020Talks - July 1, 2020 


Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma all finished up their elections Tuesday, and Medicaid expansion in OK appears to have passed. And, a Supreme Court ruling could open the door for more public money to religious institutions.

Funding for Coastal Restoration Jobs Could Benefit Maine

Coastal restoration jobs could help Maine communities hit hard by losses in the fishing and tourism industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. (RocklandMaine.gov)
Coastal restoration jobs could help Maine communities hit hard by losses in the fishing and tourism industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. (RocklandMaine.gov)
July 1, 2020

STONINGTON, Maine -- The U.S. House is expected to vote today on the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion bill to fund infrastructure. Part of the money would be for coastal restoration jobs, which is sure to appeal to states such as Maine.

State Rep. Genevieve McDonald, D-Stonington, who's also in the fishing industry, said she believes this work could supplement fishermen's income.

"You can participate in citizen science, or help with the lobster settlement survey, or servicing weather buoys, or any of these other ocean-based projects," she said. "We certainly have the ability to participate and be an asset to these types of proposals."

The bill includes $3 billion for coastal and Great Lakes restoration jobs, and prioritizes communities of color. While the act may pass the House, it's expected to have a hard road ahead in the Senate.

Jean Flemma, director of the Ocean Defense Initiative, said her group advocated for similar legislation during the last recession.

"Congress funded coastal restoration jobs as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act," she said.

Flemma said the Obama-era bill in the recession had $167 million for coastal restoration projects. But even then, there were requests for proposals totaling more than $3 billion.

Beyond the economic benefits, Flemma said these projects also protect coastal regions from the effects of climate change.

"Right now, coastal communities are being threatened by sea-level rise, more frequent storms, more extreme storms resulting from climate change," she said, "and the upcoming hurricane season is predicted to bring above-average storm activity."

Part of the bill supports developing "living shorelines." These use natural materials, such as wetlands and oyster reefs, to improve flood resilience.

The text of HR 2 is online at rules.house.gov.

Disclosure: Ocean Defense Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Oceans. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - ME