The Biden administration recently announced nearly $3 billion for communities nationwide to “build resilience to climate change and extreme weather events,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported.
A Monday press release from FEMA revealed that the funding will come from the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress last year. The agency noted that the initiative is part of Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which it called “a key pillar of Bidenomics.”
“The selections, through two competitive grant programs, will help communities across the nation enhance resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. Overall, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides FEMA nearly $7 billion to help communities proactively reduce their vulnerability to flood, hurricanes, drought, wildfires, extreme heat and other climate-fueled hazards,” FEMA stated.
Since Biden has taken office, the administration has increased FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs from $700 million to $3 billion. The additional funding will allow the agency to “protect more of our nation’s communities that are most in harm’s way from the effects of climate change and extreme weather.”
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated, “Our local and community partners are the first responders when extreme weather events unfold, and they are on the front lines of building our nation’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
“By investing today in strengthening our critical infrastructure, particularly for the most marginalized and vulnerable communities, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is going to keep Americans and their communities safer and more resilient,” Mayorkas added.
One of the projects funded by the $3 billion program involves planting 10,500 trees within the next three years in Portland, Oregon, to reduce “extreme heat conditions” and “mitigate urban flooding during extreme rainfall events as well as improve air quality.”
The funds will also be used to elevate 84 structures in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and 19 homes in the Florida Keys.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell claimed that U.S. communities are facing “more frequent and intense severe weather events” due to climate change. Criswell emphasized the importance of building “resilience before disasters strike.”
Criswell told CNN that every dollar spent on climate resilience will “save us $6 in response and recovery costs.”
“We want to reduce that complexity of the recoveries, which saves money on the disaster relief fund, because then we don’t have to spend as much to help communities recover from these types of disasters,” Criswell said.
FEMA told CNN that the agency’s annual disaster relief fund is dangerously low due to an increase in costly disasters this year, the outlet reported. Criswell stated that FEMA is projected to run out of disaster relief funding “toward the middle of September” unless Congress approves additional funding.
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