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I have a plan for climate resilience

As Oregonians, we have seen firsthand just how devastating climate disasters can be.

In 2021 alone, we experienced both an extreme winter freeze that left 300,000 people without power, and just five months later, a deadly, record-setting heat dome that claimed over 100 lives. Climate-fueled disasters are becoming a more frequent part of our reality.

We cannot accept the levels of loss and destruction we witnessed in 2021 as inevitable, or worse yet, normal.

Climate change is a crisis that we need to treat like we do all other crises. That's why I introduced the National Climate Emergency Act with my friend, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which would prompt the declaration of a national climate emergency. This legislation would direct the President of the United States to unleash every resource in our arsenal to mitigate climate change.

As I continue to fight for a formal climate emergency declaration, I also introduced the Climate Resilience Act, which will strengthen the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) response to climate disasters.

This legislation will mitigate and prevent the devastating disasters we saw last year. For as long as I can remember, the federal government's approach to natural disasters has been far more reactive than proactive— providing resources and support after deadly disasters hit. My legislation gives FEMA the tools to help communities mitigate the risk and impacts of disasters before they strike.

The legislation, for the first time, creates a definition of disadvantaged communities, expands FEMA's definition of disasters to include heat waves and freezes, and gives them the authority to address air quality issues that arise from wildfire smoke, in addition to making a number of new community resilience activities eligible under existing FEMA programs.

These are just a few of the climate issues I am addressing. There is so much more to do and I will continue to lead the charge, taking action to keep our communities and our planet safe.

Fighting for climate justice means actively and intentionally repairing the damage our most vulnerable communities have endured as a result of corporate-friendly climate policies. As we prepare for future effects of climate change, we must prioritize defending those same frontline communities.

I won't let this conversation drop. At every step of our work to combat the climate crisis, I'll ensure equity has a seat at the table.



Posted on March 8, 2022.