Blumenauer Launches Groundbreaking Report, Legislative Agenda to Protect Americans, Strengthen Federal Response to Wildfires, Heat Waves, and Other Climate Disasters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today unveiled his report and legislative agenda to address the onslaught of climate disasters, including the increasingly intense wildfires and heat waves that have leveled entire towns and killed hundreds of Oregonians in recent years.
“We can no longer afford to send mixed messages about the severity of the climate crisis for people’s everyday lives,” said Blumenauer. “Indeed, putting off these much-needed policy changes will only delay the inevitable and make the adjustments more difficult as we reap the consequences of decades of inaction and denial. The only realistic option is to act now. We have given ourselves no other choice.”
The report analyzes the impacts of various climate disasters—from floods to wildfires—and examines the federal government’s failure to properly prepare and respond.
The report also includes a legislative roadmap of priorities and core tenants for federal reform when it comes to climate disaster preparedness and mitigation. In the coming weeks, Blumenauer will begin introducing legislation to support the ten goals included in that agenda:
- Acknowledging that marginalized and impoverished people and people of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change and disasters;
- Prioritizing economic and racial justice in every adaption and recovery program;
- Reducing emissions, addressing pollution, and increasing overall resilience;
- Revamping federal agencies’ tools, including uniform risk disclosure, consensus-based building codes, updated disaster definitions, and improved floodplain management to adequately reflect the risk of climate change for communities, homeowners, and renters;
- Using post-disaster funding with a focus on climate and resilience, as well as equity;
- Working with federal agencies to address inequities in disaster relief funding for the poor and marginalized and direct additional assistance to these communities;
- Emphasizing and prioritizing natural solutions at every level of government;
- Working with state and local governments to develop better land use planning requirements that avoid new development in high-risk areas like the Wildlife Urban Interface or high flood risk areas. The federal government must encourage cities and states to be both proactive and realistic in their approaches to planning, development, and hazard mitigation;
- Investing in programs that support crop-diverse farms, community water resilience, and water conservation and efficiency;
- Reframing our thinking on climate to consider it an opportunity rather than a threat. Our environment and our economy are connected. There is no binary choice— we can create jobs, update our aging infrastructure, grow our domestic manufacturing, address some historic inequities, and face the climate crisis all at the same time.
Blumenauer’s announcement comes just days after his return from COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow, Scotland. While there, Blumenauer met with delegations from around the world about concrete proposals to help the global community realize its climate goals, including his legislation to crack down on illegal deforestation.