Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today praised President Obama’s Executive Order that establishes an interagency Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the federal government can help protect our nation’s critical infrastructure and respond to the needs of communities that are preparing for the impacts of climate change and strengthening their resilience to future natural disasters. The Task Force members would include federal agencies as well as state, local, and community leaders across the nation that would propose specific recommendations and solutions.
The executive order comes after Senator Gillibrand introduced a similar measure with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) this past June called the STRONG Act – Strengthening the Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground –which requires the federal government to develop a national resiliency strategy and help communities identify gaps and plan ahead before another disaster occurs to mitigate rebuilding needs after a disaster hits. The bipartisan bill would also create a new information portal for both the public and private sectors to streamline coordination and share data on how to strengthen our communities against future extreme weather threats.
“I commend the President for taking executive action – a critical step forward in developing a national, integrated storm-resilient strategy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress now needs to do its part and pass the STRONG Act to build on this Executive Order, and ensure that future administrations continue this important work to coordinate with all levels of government effectively and efficiently. We must harness the expertise of our planning community to ensure that neighborhoods from the Rockaways to Long Beach and all across New York are armed with innovative practices to plan for and survive future disasters.”
The STRONG Act would use federal, nationwide resources to work closely with local efforts and provide the most recent scientific data and best practices to help communities plan for, and survive, the worst. Senator Gillibrand’s bill would require the White House Office of Science and Technology to lead a high-level interagency group to investigate resiliency policies, identify gaps and conflicting policies.
Legislation would help neighborhoods throughout New York and across the nation share expertise and information to build resiliency into their planning process. This would include a one-stop-shop for states, cities, businesses, and non-profits to gather and share data to develop smart resiliency policies – incorporating existing databases and ongoing efforts across a range of sectors, from weather and climate, to transportation and energy. The bill also encourages creation of innovative public-private partnerships.