Federal Action to Support State, Local and Tribal Leaders as They Prepare Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change

On July 16, 2014, President Obama announced this series of new climate change initiatives from across federal agencies - based on the recommendations of the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness - to help state, local, and tribal leaders prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change by developing and rebuilding more resilient infrastructure.

The White House Office of the Press Secretary press release explains: “To support communities in need of a more resilient infrastructure that can withstand impacts like more extreme weather and increased flooding, President Obama is responding to guidance from governors, mayors, county and tribal officials who are proven leaders in helping their communities prepare for climate impacts…the President has put forward a comprehensive plan to invest in America’s infrastructure in order to create jobs, provide certainty to states and communities, support American businesses, and grow our economy.”

The State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was established in November 2013 to provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare.

These federal measures respond to the Task Force’s feedback:

Providing Federal resources to support climate preparedness

  • National Disaster Resilience Competition. The nearly $1 billion Competition, announced by the President on June 14, makes resources available to communities that have been struck by natural disasters in recent years. 
  • Helping tribes prepare for climate impacts. The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs launched a new $10 million Federal-Tribal Climate Resilience Partnership and Technical Assistance Program that will help tribes prepare for climate change by developing and delivering adaptation training.
  • Investing in the nation's rural electric system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced awards totaling $236.3 million in funding for eight states to support improved rural electric infrastructure
  • Developing advanced mapping data and tools. The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and other Federal agencies launched a $13.1 million 3-D Elevation Program partnership designed to bring Federal agencies, academia, corporate entities, states, tribes, and communities together to develop advanced 3-dimensional mapping data of the United States.
  • Safeguarding access to quality drinking water amid drought. USDA continues to work with producers, communities, affected states and other agencies to help address the current West Coast drought. The Department will announce additional funds to help rural communities struggling with drought.

Rebuilding stronger and safer after natural disasters

  • Establishing a Mitigation Integration Task Force.  In order to help communities build back stronger and safer in the face of new risks, FEMA has established a Mitigation Integration Task Force to develop and implement a Mitigation Integration Pilot Program by the end of August.
  • Accounting for Climate Change in Hazard Mitigation Planning.  To ensure that States are preparing for the impacts of climate change, FEMA will release new guidance for State Hazard Mitigation Plans that calls upon States to consider climate variability as part of their requirement to address the probability of future events in state planning efforts.

Building more resilient communities

  • Committing to “Preparedness Pilots.”  The Administration announced the launch of two “Preparedness Pilots” in cooperation with the City of Houston and the State of Colorado, with NASA (Johnson Space Flight Center) and the Energy Department (National Renewable Energy Laboratory).  The pilots will involve key Federal agencies in each community, including NASA, the Energy Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the USDA. These pilots will bring together federal agencies and local communities to assess and plan for their region-specific vulnerabilities and interdependencies associated with the impacts of climate change.
  • Making our coasts more resilient.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced new program guidance under Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure greater consideration of how climate change may exacerbate challenges in the management of coastal areas.  Through this effort, $1.5 million of competitive funding will be available to help states and tribes make improvements to their coastal management programs.
  • Improving stormwater management. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a Green Infrastructure Collaborative among government agencies, NGOs, and other private sector entities to advance green stormwater infrastructure. 
  • Assessing climate-related health hazards. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new guide, “Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change,” to help public health departments assess local vulnerabilities to health hazards associated with climate change.


Publication Date: July 16, 2014

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