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NC's Coastal Areas Could Get Economic Boost from Moving Forward Act

Millions of vacationers flock to North Carolina's Outer Banks each year. (Adobe Stock)
Millions of vacationers flock to North Carolina's Outer Banks each year. (Adobe Stock)
July 7, 2020

NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- Congress is considering a bill that would provide funding to coastal communities for investment in ocean and coastal-habitat restoration.

Advocates say the Moving Forward Act, which U.S. House lawmakers recently passed, would reduce the economic sting caused by the coronavirus, especially in coastal communities that rely on summer tourism. Dan Crawford, director of government relations at the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, said the state has a collection of shovel-ready projects.

"People need to know just what a great investment it's going to be. It's a great down payment to start the process of accepting and moving forward with a clean economy," Crawford said. "And, at a time when the economy has been decimated by the pandemic, it's going to get folks back to work."

One analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that for every $1 million spent on coastal restoration, around 15 new jobs are created, primarily in engineering, science, construction and fisheries.

Crawford added the legislation also will help the state adapt to climate change and protect its beaches for future generations.

"One of the more interesting aspect of an investment like this into our coastal economy is that it will help shore up the coastal areas and make sure they are protected down the road," he said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, in 2018 tourism generated a record $25 million in visitor spending. More than 230,000 jobs are tied to the tourism industry.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC