Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday blasted the Obama administration’s new rule that could make it harder for governors skeptical of man-made climate change to obtain federal money to prepare for emergencies such as floods and hurricanes.
Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency “prepares families and communities for national disasters,” Mr. Jindal said in a statement to The Washington Times.
“This preparation saves lives,” Mr. Jindal said. “The White House should not use it for political leverage to force acquiescence to their left-wing ideology.”
Mr. Jindal, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, was responding to a new FEMA guideline that requires states seeking federal disaster preparedness money to assess how climate change threatens their communities. The requirement, which will go into effect in March 2016, wasn’t included in FEMA’s 2008 guidelines.
The policy doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster. But it could affect whether FEMA approves a state’s emergency plans, or the funding provided for disaster planning.
The new rules could put some Republican governors such as Mr. Jindal, Rick Scott of Florida and Chris Christie of New Jersey in a bind. Mr. Jindal’s statement didn’t say whether he will accede to the administration’s new requirement.
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Mr. Jindal previously has said climate change amounts to “simply a Trojan horse” for more government regulation.
“It’s an excuse for the government to come in and try to tell us what kind of homes we live in, what kind of cars we drive, what kind of lifestyles we can enjoy,” Mr. Jindal told a Heritage Foundation conference last year. “It’s an excuse for some who never liked free-market economies, who never liked rapid economic growth.”
The new rule says 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.”
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.
Florida officials suggested they won’t change their policy to conform to the new FEMA rule.
Mr. Scott’s office referred a reporter’s inquiry to the state Division of Emergency Management, where spokesman Aaron Gallaher said the agency “develops and implements changes” to Florida’s enhanced state mitigation plan every five years.
“Florida’s current [plan] became effective on August 24, 2013, and is approved for use through August 23, 2018,” Mr. Gallaher said in a statement.