FEMA : Climate Change-Denying Governors Risk Withheld Funding


The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the first federal agency that a governor usually calls in time of natural disaster, has gone on record that more Republican governors need to get on board when it comes to climate change, otherwise they risk not getting federal disaster-preparedness funds.

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has previously said that he doesn't support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. He joins a list of GOP governors, including Chris Christie (New Jersey), Rick Scott (Florida), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Greg Abbott (Texas) and Pat McCrory (North Carolina) who have waffled or flat-out denied climate change.

But under a new policy from FEMA, which goes into effect in March 2016, the state's risk assessments must include consideration of the changing of climate conditions that could impact the state vulnerability to hazards. Simply put, if a state wants federal disaster preparedness money, they'll be required to consider how climate change threatens their communities.

"An understanding of vulnerabilities will assist with prioritizing mitigation actions and policies that reduce risk from future events,” the agency said.

The gubernatorial approval clause was included in the new guidelines to "raise awareness and support for implementing the actions in the mitigation strategy and increasing statewide resilience to natural hazards," said FEMA spokeswoman Susan Hendrick.