Durbin Introduces Bill to Create Bond Program to Fund Climate Resiliency Projects

The Climate Change Resiliency Fund for America Act would create a program similar to the national war bond program during World War II to support climate resiliency efforts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today reintroduced the Climate Change Resiliency Fund forAmerica Act.  The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to issue from $200 million up to $1 billion in state and local tax-exempt “climate bonds” annually for any American to purchase and contribute to climate resiliency efforts, with the option to increase bonds issuance to $1 billion should demand exceed $200 million.  The legislation would mirror the national war bond program during World War II to rally the nation around efforts to prepare for the deeply harmful impacts of climate change.

“Between intense heatwaves, severe floods, and uncontrollable wildfires, we are already facing the severe consequences of the climate crisis.  We must address this existential threat through a coordinated national strategy,”said Durbin.  “Today, I’m reintroducing my Climate Change Resiliency Fund for America Act, which would rally the nation around efforts to combat the effects of the climate crisis by funding resiliency projects in front-line and environmental justice communities that experience disproportionate impacts from this crisis.”

In addition to issuing “climate bonds,” the Climate Change Resiliency Fund for America Act would:

  • Use bond proceeds to fund a new “Climate Change Resiliency Fund,” administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, for grants to fund climate change resiliency projects.  Eligible grant recipients include federal, state, and local governments; utilities, tribes, transit groups, nonprofits, coalitions, public authorities, or other organizations as determined by the Secretary of Commerce;
  • Utilize the new Climate Change Resiliency fund to support climate resiliency projects that could include, but are not limited to, infrastructure and planning projects that reduce risks or enhance resilience to sea level rise, extreme weather, wildfires, droughts, flooding, and heat islands, as well as projects to protect against food insecurity and public health threats, like vector borne illnesses, that may result from climate change;
  • Establish a bipartisan Climate Change Advisory Commission to create program requirements and select projects funded through the Climate Change Resiliency Fund.  This Commission would be required to engage in early and meaningful community stakeholder involvement, and would give priority to Environmental Justice (EJ) communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.  Not less than 40 percent of all grant funds would benefit projects in EJ communities.  Most projects would require a 25 percent nonfederal match, but this bill would designate 10 to 40 percent of funds for no-match projects, with the Secretary of Commerce retaining the ability to further waive matching requirements for applicants representing low-income or EJ communities; and,
  • Authorize up to $10 million annually for five years to promote the sale of climate bonds.