April 22, 2022

Congressman Neguse, Senator Bennet Announce Effort to Enhance Climate Adaptation & Support State’s Climate Preparedness Initiative

Lafayette, CO – Today, Friday April 22, 2022, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, submitted a joint letter to House and Senate Appropriations leadership urging them to adopt a comprehensive National Strategy on Climate Preparedness that prioritizes investments in mitigation and climate adaptation across all Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Subcommittees. Their effort coincides with Colorado legislative initiatives introduced earlier today to create an Office of Climate Preparedness, scale up investments in climate adaptation, and enhance wildfire assistance and firefighting programs. Congressman Neguse joined Colorado Governor Jared Polis and State Senate President Steve Fenberg to announce the state and Federal initiatives at a joint press conference this morning at the State Capitol in Denver. 

“From the Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and Marshall Fires, to the historic floods in 2013, Colorado has been an epicenter for climate-fueled natural disasters. We must act decisively to combat the climate crisis and prepare our state for future disasters. The state’s new initiative to create an Office of Climate Preparedness and increase investments in climate adaptation are critically important, and I’m proud to lead efforts to support both at the Federal level,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Today, Senator Bennet and I are partnering with Governor Polis and state legislative leaders to advance this initiative on the federal level through our effort to ensure House and Senate appropriators adopt a national strategy of climate preparedness and prioritize state and local mitigation and adaptation as part of the FY 2023 budget.”

Congressman Neguse continued, “Working with my colleagues in Congress, I was glad to see an increase in the Federal cost share of FEMA assistance programs for the Marshall Fire. I’m grateful to the Governor and state legislative leaders for their efforts to utilize those cost-savings by appropriating additional relief for the victims of the Marshall Fire and increasing investments in our fire-fighting capabilities and equipment as Colorado grapples with historic wildfires and dangerous conditions on the ground.”

“Investments in climate preparedness are critical for the federal government in upcoming budget cycles.  Our communities have seen first hand the effects of wildfires burning out of control through suburban fueled by extreme dry conditions and high winds.  We appreciate the leadership of our federal partners in helping to prepare and mitigate these conditions in other communities.” said Superior Mayor, Clint Folsom.

The letter requests support for key initiatives, including but not limited to: the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant, the Wildland Fire Management Account, FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER). 

Read the letter HERE and below. 

 

April 22, 2022

 

The Honorable Rosa DeLaura                                                The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Chair                                                                                       Chairman

House Committee on Appropriations                                     Senate Committee on Appropriations

Washington, D.C. 20515                                                        Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Kay Granger                                                 The Honorable Richard Shelby

Ranking Member                                                                    Vice Chairman

House Committee on Appropriations                                     Senate Committee on Appropriations

Washington, D.C. 20515                                                        Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chair DeLauro, Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Granger, and Vice Chairman Shelby:

Thank you for your continued work to craft appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23), and your investments in climate mitigation in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus legislation. We write today to request that you build on those investments by adopting a climate preparedness and mitigation strategy to scale up these investments and prioritize funding for climate preparedness in FY23 appropriations.

As you know, our state of Colorado has seen countless natural disasters over recent years, with the most recent Marshall Fire destroying over 1,000 homes in Boulder County, Colorado, and becoming the most destructive fire in Colorado history. In 2021, the United States experienced 20 disasters where the damage cost at least $1 billion, the second-highest number of billion-dollar disasters in one year, only behind the 22 disasters experienced in 20201. As a result of climate change, we will only continue to see these natural disasters increase in severity and intensity in Colorado, throughout the United States and the world. We must urgently invest in climate adaptation and mitigation so that our communities are prepared for these impacts.

The National Institute of Building Sciences found that every $1 spent on federal mitigation grants saves an average of $6 for the federal government2. We must invest more in mitigation and preparedness efforts to protect homeowners and communities, and reduce costs to the federal government by working to prevent the hardships impacted communities face after the loss of their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. 

As you work on legislation for FY23 across each of the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees, we ask that you make addressing climate change a priority by maintaining or scaling up funding for climate adaptation and mitigation—including, but not limited to, the programs below.

• In the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, this includes robust funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which supports agricultural producers to mitigate against the impacts of climate change and funds critical post-disaster watershed protection and recovery programs.

• In the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, this includes increasing funding for the National Science Foundation—which received $8.84 billion in FY22—and our federal research institutions, such as those housed within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to continue conducting critical research on the impacts of climate change.

• In the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee, this includes increases for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy—which was funded at a level of $3.2 billion in FY22—to support research and technologies to advance energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and strengthen the reliability of our electric grid. This also includes the important work of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), researching and advancing clean technologies and energy systems in our home state of Colorado. It is critical we continue to increase these investments in FY23.

• In the Homeland Security Subcommittee, this includes increasing funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants to ensure our first responders are equipped for these disasters. In FY22, these programs received a combined total of $720 million, which we should continue to build on in FY23. We also should provide increased funding for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program, and ensure adequate funding in FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to support the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program.

• In the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, we should continue to provide increased funding to build on the $5.48 billion provided for the Wildland Fire Management Account across the Departments of Interior and Agriculture in FY22; and increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support their work providing clean air and water and measuring and reducing emissions.

• In the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, this includes funding to reduce emissions in our transportation sector, and increased funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant, which helps communities consider and mitigate climate impacts and risks for low-income residents. We also should provide increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery and Mitigation which supports communities as they recover from and mitigate against future disasters.

As you craft your respective FY23 appropriations bills, we ask you to prioritize funding for programs that support climate mitigation, preparedness, and resilience for our states and communities across all subcommittees. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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