Bipartisan Climate Resilience Legislation Introduced in Congress
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation aimed at centralizing the federal government’s role in climate resilience planning and oversight.
The National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act, introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), as well as Representatives Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and María E. Salazar (R-Fla.), directs the federal government to develop a national climate adaptation plan to prepare for the impacts of severe weather patterns and sea-level rise.
The legislation would authorize a new White House chief resilience officer, as well as interagency working groups to offer expertise and guidance for national resilience planning. Currently, federal climate adaptation work is spread across nearly 20 federal agencies – including EPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The legislation addresses the inefficiencies and funding barriers within the current siloed approach by streamlining national planning and project funding opportunities.
The comprehensive approach proposed by the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act could increase the capacity of communities to prepare for climate-related disasters, opening opportunities for collaboration across local governments and with nongovernmental organizations. State and local governments would benefit from a less cumbersome federal funding framework offered by the legislation.
The bill would also complement the Biden administration’s agenda to address climate-related vulnerabilities. While Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) have also offered their endorsement, the path forward for the legislation remains unclear. NACWA will continue to keep members updated as the legislative process unfolds.
Please contact NACWA’s legislative team with any questions or to discuss further.