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Murkowski, Young Introduce Digital Coast Act

Apr 10, 2019 | Monitor

Washington, DC–Congressmen Don Young (R-AK), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help local and state governments protect the country’s 95,000 miles of shoreline.

The Digital Coast Act allows professionals at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to begin a comprehensive mapping process of the nation’s shorelines. Coastal communities will be able to use the data to prepare for storms, manage floods, restore ecosystems and plan smarter developments near America’s coasts, harbors, ports and shorelines.

Geospatial mapping information can be complicated, expensive to collect, and difficult to use without in-house expertise. NOAA will also train decision-makers at the local and state level on how to use the datasets to answer questions about storm surge, erosion, and water level trends. The data will also be available on NOAA’s website for free and easy public access.

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“No other state in the nation understands the need for coastal resilience and mapping more than Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “With more than 44,000 miles of coastline, much of which is not fully mapped, Alaska’s coastal communities rely heavily on our waterways and shipping channels to support all forms of social and economic prosperity: goods from the Lower 48, critical transportation needs, search and rescue operations, and the state’s largest private sector employer – our fishing industry. The Digital Coast Act is an important step towards developing a system that supports our coastal communities with up-to-date and reliable information on our coastlines and weather conditions.”

“America’s fragile shorelines are home to more than half of our country’s population and millions of businesses that supply most of our gross domestic product,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Yet current coastal maps and geospatial data are woefully inaccurate, outdated, or even nonexistent. The Digital Coast Act will give local planners and managers the high-tech data they need to make accurate decisions and smart investments that could save people and property.”

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“No other state in the nation understands the need for coastal resilience and mapping more than Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “With more than 44,000 miles of coastline, much of which is not fully mapped, Alaska’s coastal communities rely heavily on our waterways and shipping channels to support all forms of social and economic prosperity: goods from the Lower 48, critical transportation needs, search and rescue operations, and the state’s largest private sector employer – our fishing industry. The Digital Coast Act is an important step towards developing a system that supports our coastal communities with up-to-date and reliable information on our coastlines and weather conditions.”

“America’s fragile shorelines are home to more than half of our country’s population and millions of businesses that supply most of our gross domestic product,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Yet current coastal maps and geospatial data are woefully inaccurate, outdated, or even nonexistent. The Digital Coast Act will give local planners and managers the high-tech data they need to make accurate decisions and smart investments that could save people and property.”

This is the sixth time Representatives Ruppersberger and Young have introduced the Digital Coast Act since 2010. Companion bills sponsored by Senators Baldwin and Murkowski passed with unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate during the 114th and 115th Sessions of Congress.

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