The Obama administration has issued new guidelines that could make it harder for governors who deny climate change to obtain federal disaster-preparedness funds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new rules could put some Republican governors in a bind. The rules say that states’ risk assessments must include “consideration of changing environmental or climate conditions that may affect and influence the long-term vulnerability from hazards in the state.”
The policy, which goes into effect in March 2016, doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. But states seeking disaster preparedness money from Washington will be required to assess how climate change threatens their communities, a requirement that wasn’t included in FEMA’s 2008 guidelines.
FEMA said it “recognizes there exists inherent uncertainty about future conditions, and will work with states to identify tools and approaches that enable decision-making to reduce risks and increase resilience from a changing climate.”
“An understanding of vulnerabilities will assist with prioritizing mitigation actions and policies that reduce risk from future events,” the agency said.
Among the GOP governors who could face a difficult decision are Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Pat McCrory of North Carolina and Greg Abbott of Texas.
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