CHNEP's 2020 Federal and State Legislative Priorities

The Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, which includes 10 counties and 15 plus cities in Central and Southwest Florida, as well as state and federal govt. agencies, have the following collective federal and state legislative priorities for 2020:

Federal

  • Reauthorization of the National Estuary Program (HR 4044)

    • Reauthorization of the National Estuary Program is required to maintain important federal natural resource protection initiatives (last authorized in 2016).

    • The House Transportation Committee has approved HR 4044, which authorized funding for the NEP at $50 million per year, up from $26.5 million. 

    • The Senate has not yet introduced a companion measure, but one is expected.

    • Approval of HR 4044 and a Senate Companion Bill will ensure critical water and habitat protection projects continue.

  • Continued National Estuary Program funding under current authorization

  • Funding provided in the House Interior Appropriations Bill for FY 2020 of $750 thousand per NEP entity and $4 million for Competitive Grant funding. 

  • The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee has provided $675 thousand per NEP entity for FY 2020.

  • Funding levels of $750 thousand per NEP entity would put more funding in the field, consistent with the funding formula in the 2016 reauthorization.

  • Competitive Grant funding under current authorization

    • The House-passed Appropriations Bill would fund a previously authorized Competitive Grant program at $4 million for FY 2020; allowing entities within the National Estuary Program to apply to meet urgent community resiliency and resource protection needs.

    • The Senate measure does not include Competitive Grant program funding at this time.

    • Competitive Grant funding at the House-proposed level of $4 million for FY 2020 would put more funding in the field, consistent with the 2016 reauthorization.

  • Estuary Caucus Membership Expansion

State

  • Continue and expand annual funding for the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Program, including recurrent dedicated funding (HB971).

  • Create or strengthen nutrient and pollution reduction policies to reduce loads from wastewater, septic, agricultural runoff, reclaimed water, stormwater, fertilizer and internal “legacy loads”.

    • Support specific legislative authorization for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to update stormwater standards in Environmental Resource Permitting state-wide to require stormwater systems that maximize the capture and treatment of nitrogen and phosphorus.

  • Expand funding for innovative technology pilot projects, including technologies to address harmful algae blooms – especially those that promote natural system solutions.

  • Establish a statewide, long-term funding program through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with sufficient funds for competitive, local cost-share projects for estuary restoration including:

    • Upgrading wastewater treatment to advanced wastewater treatment and increasing capacity

    • Septic to sewer conversion

    • Groundwater contamination remediation projects

    • Habitat restoration (ex. seagrass, oysters, living shorelines)

    • Stormwater retrofitting projects

    • Legacy load / muck removal remediation projects

    • Resiliency projects and planning

  • Support increased funding of Florida Forever and Florida Rural and Family Lands programs.

  • Support of local governments’ continued ability to enact more stringent environmental protection ordinances.

Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, 326 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, FL 33950-4417, (941) 575-5090