LWF was one of 35 organizations who recently submitted a joint letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging her to restore the Coastal Barrier Resources Act’s (CBRA) full protections.
In November 2019, the Trump Administration abruptly overturned the CBRA’s prohibition against federal taxpayer dollars being used to mine sand in sensitive Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas for use outside of the CBRS, casting aside 25 years of bipartisan adherence to the law’s basic restrictions.
Background on the CBRA (per the USFWS website):
In the early 1980s, Congress recognized that certain actions and programs of the Federal Government have historically subsidized and encouraged development on coastal barriers, resulting in the loss of natural resources; threats to human life, health, and property; and the expenditure of millions of tax dollars each year. To remove the federal incentive to develop these areas, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 and subsequent amendments designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts as part of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), and made these areas ineligible for most new federal expenditures and financial assistance. CBRA encourages the conservation of hurricane prone, biologically rich coastal barriers by restricting federal expenditures that encourage development, such as federal flood insurance.
A new USFWS-USGS report, entitled Impact of Sediment Removal from and Placement in Coastal Barrier Island Systems, documents myriad harmful impacts to the coastal environment and downstream coastal communities from sand mining, as summarized in the USFWS’s “Frequently Asked Questions” addendum to the report. The study documents significant harm to birds, fish and shellfish, and other coastal wildlife from sand mining in Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas.
Read the full letter submitted to Sec. Deb Haaland urging her to restore this pragmatic and protective law so that its full, intended benefits can be realized.