FEMA plans to cut disaster prep funds in states with governors who deny climate change. The agency is not specifically going after states because of their governor’s views, rather trying to use their funding power to get governors to acknowledge the existence of climate change. FEMA is doing so by adding climate change to the hazard mitigation plans that governors and state governments complete for federal money. If a state does not have any projects or initiatives to combat climate change in their plan, they will not qualify for federal funding.
The new law will not affect natural disaster relief funding, it only affects preparatory funds.
The new procedures are quoted, “The challenges posed by climate change, such as more intense storms, frequent heavy precipitation, heat waves, drought, extreme flooding, and higher sea levels, could significantly alter the types and magnitudes of hazards impacting states in the future.”
Several Republican governors have denied the existence of climate change or have refused to take action against it and this change could especially hurt their states. Among those are Rick Scott of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. All three have coastal states that are tied to the climate and weather. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas also denies the existence of climate change and his state has been dealing with droughts over the past few months and years.
Due to the political ramifications of this story, TKNN has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents pertaining to the discussion and planning of this policy change. When we get information from FEMA, we will pass it along.
Additional reporting by TKNN’s Tyler.