When the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376) cleared its last congressional hurdle on August 12th, Robert Vandermark, the Network’s executive director, released the following statement applauding its passage:
U.S. ocean fisheries support American fishing and seafood industries that have been important drivers to our nation’s economy for generations. Our fisheries sustain local businesses and jobs in coastal communities and provide food security and nutritious seafood options to families across the country. Designating resources to conserve ocean ecosystems and support community-based commercial and recreational fishing will significantly help all Americans weather this current financial storm.
The Marine Fish Conservation Network applauds Congress for designating funding for the conservation of coastal and marine habitat upon which fish populations depend and providing critical resources for upgrading infrastructure needed to ensure America’s working waterfronts continue to prosper and provide seafood products and fishing opportunities to all of us. Congress’ actions will help American families stand on stronger financial ground and help community-based fishing and seafood businesses and industries thrive for generations to come.
On August 16, President Biden signed H.R. 5376 into law (PL 117-169). The law contains $2.6 billion to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for coastal and marine habitat conservation. It also includes $150 million to NOAA for constructing new facilities, piers, marine operations facilities, and fisheries laboratories, and another $50 million for facility construction to support the National Marine Sanctuary System. These funds, as Rob noted, are important for fisheries management and coastal communities and will help further the Network’s goals.
While the overall level of funding is an impressive $750 billion, there is only a limited amount that is directly available to marine related businesses, organizations, or individuals. Similar to the funding under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there is little guidance to the department and agencies in the legislation and each will have to determine the processes for how and where to spend these resources. This creates opportunities for MFCN members who have projects or needs in these areas to make funding requests to the relevant agencies as they sort out the details and how to implement and use the funds.
Below are the relevant provisions that the Network would like to highlight for its members and colleagues:
- $2.6 billion is appropriated for coastal and marine habitat conservation in FY 2022 (the current fiscal year) and is available until the end of FY 2026.
- Funding is provided by:
- direct expenditure, contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, or technical assistance to coastal states, the District of Columbia, Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and institutions of higher education.
- Funding is available for:
- conservation, restoration, and protection of coastal and marine habitats, resources, Pacific salmon and other marine fisheries, to enable coastal communities to prepare for extreme storms and other changing climate conditions, and for projects that support natural resources that sustain coastal and marine resource dependent communities, marine fishery, and marine mammal stock assessments.
- $2.25 billion is appropriated to EPA in FY 2022 and is available until the end of FY 2027
- Funding is provided by rebates and grants.
- Funding is available:
- to purchase or install zero-emission port equipment or technology for use at, or to directly serve, one or more ports;
- to conduct any relevant planning or permitting in connection with the purchase or installation of such zero-emission port equipment or technology; and
- to develop qualified climate action plans.
- $750 million is appropriated as above for the same purposes for ports in air quality nonattainment areas.
- $60 million is appropriated in FY 2022 and is available until the end of FY 2031.
- Funding is provided for:
- grants, loans, and rebates (see 42 U.S.C. 16132)
- Funding is available:
- to identify and reduce diesel emissions resulting from goods movement facilities in low-income and disadvantaged communities
The Network will track the progress of these funds as they move through the agency process and provide updates as information becomes available.