- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Fort Collins’ attitudes about climate change and its efforts to address it are typical of the American public, but the federal government is lagging behind, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the city Tuesday, touring projects to restore the Poudre River and help it withstand extreme weather, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported (https://tinyurl.com/mfgvfnz).

“The thing is to recognize that there has been a groundswell that has been waiting for the federal government to catch up,” McCarthy told audience of city and White House administrators.

Washington skeptics should look to communities such as Fort Collins for examples of efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, she said.

“I am here because the president knows that climate change is happening and it’s real,” McCarthy said. “And I am here because this mayor and this community get that.”

McCarthy walked along the city’s Poudre River path with Mayor Karen Weitkunat and John Stokes, director of the city’s Natural Areas Department.

“This is just fabulous,” McCarthy said. “This is what will keep people here. It’s to preserve the connection to the outdoors that Colorado holds so dear.”

McCarthy said she visited New Orleans to learn about wetland-rehabilitation efforts.

Around the country, “the dynamic around water is changing considerably,” she said. Cities are learning to adjust their flood plains and integrate bodies of water into their economic lives, McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s visit came a week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Fort Collins and six other cities as climate hubs.

The hubs are charged with assessing local climate risks, such as drought and wildfire, and developing plans for dealing with them, including improved irrigation techniques.

In December, Weitkunat was appointed to President Barack Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders’ Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

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Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan, https://www.coloradoan.com


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