June 10, 2015

Kilmer Reintroduces Bill to Help Coastal Tribes Facing Threats from Severe Weather

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) reintroduced a bill to support Native American tribes living in coastal areas and facing threats from severe weather. The legislation, entitled the Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act, would expand the Coastal Zone Management Act to provide the resources tribes need to protect their community and sacred historical sites from increasingly changing weather patterns brought on by climate change.

Coastal tribes are increasingly confronting persistent flooding, mold damage, tsunami threats, and erosion. Washington state has over 3,000 miles of marine coastline, on which many reservations or fishing grounds are located. To date, tribes such as the Quileute Nation village of La Push and the Hoh Tribe have begun the process of moving to higher ground.

Kilmer’s bill would expand access to grants so that these tribes can take preventative measures to ensure the safety of their members and protect their facilities before an emergency. It is supported by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

“Climate change isn’t just a theory and it’s not something that we can wait for future generations to take care of,” said Kilmer. “Right now in the district I represent three tribes are already in the process of moving to higher ground. The time for action is now. That’s why I reintroduced this bill that strengthens our coordination and partnership with tribal governments. We must do more to ensure the tribe’s history is not washed out to sea.”