D.C. Law 21-185: Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency Establishment Act of 2016

In November 2016 the District of Columbia Council passed legislation to establish a  new Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency to act in 2017. (Act B21-0369 established the first Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency for DC in 2015). The 2016-2017 Commission is responsible for identifying best practices in resiliency, conducting vulnerability assessments for critical infrastructure and systems, and making recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes needed to reduce vulnerabilities, among other duties. The Act also established a Climate Change and Resiliency Fund, to be administered by the Department of Energy and Environment on behalf of the Commission.

As described in the Act, specifically, the Commission will:

  1. Identify best practices in resiliency, including those being pursued by other municipalities, other states, other regions, and the federal government;
  2. Conduct vulnerability assessments for the current resilience of critical infrastructure and systems, including energy production, food and water security, the built environment, natural resources, emergency preparedness and response, transportation, housing, economic risk management, telecommunications, and public health;
  3. Develop recommendations to address vulnerabilities and increase resiliency;
  4. Evaluate the projected impacts of climate change on critical infrastructure and systems, natural resources, public health, and the economy;
  5. Develop recommendations for proactive solutions to mitigate the expected impacts of climate change, including how agencies and other entities should integrate mitigation and adaptation strategies when planning and designing policies, programs, and projects; and
  6. Identify and recommend standard resiliency guidelines for the design and planning of infrastructure and development projects.

The Act took effect in March 2017, and several commissioners – including the Georgetown Climate Center’s Deputy Director, Kate Zyla – were sworn in towards the end of May.

The Commission must meet quarterly to assess the District’s readiness for a natural disaster or other adverse event and evaluate the impacts of climate change on the District’s physical assets, policies, and programs. The Commission also must submit an interim report within fourteen months of the bill’s approval, a final report within twenty-four months, and a regular triennial report thereafter.


Publication Date: November 18, 2016

Related Organizations:

  • District of Columbia

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