Tell Congress: Ensure Disaster Relief Funding Restores Common Sense Climate Resilience Standards for Infrastructure
On August 15, Trump overturned an Obama administration rule that infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges, be designed to withstand the effects of climate change -- such as rising sea levels.
Trump's dismantling of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for climate resilience flouted advice from experts in climate change, coastal management and environmental policy. In 2015, Obama signed an executive order to protect taxpayer dollars spent on projects in flood-prone areas and to improve the ability of communities across the country to prepare for the consequences of climate change. The Obama order had not yet gone into effect because FEMA has been soliciting input and drafting new rules.
The widespread flooding in Houston due to tropical storm Harvey demonstrates how deadly and destructive extreme weather events can be. Historic weather data shows that the intense storms and torrential rains that cause flooding are happening more often, all around the country.
Despite this, the Trump administration revoked the flood risk standards, claiming a need to "slash the time" for approval of infrastructure projects. An 8/29 post on BillMoyers.com, entitled "How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders," points out that real estate developers and builders pushed for overturning the Obama-era flood management order. Trump's gutting of the flood risk policy combines crony capitalism with climate change denial in one heedless act.
"This is climate science denial at its most dangerous, as Trump is putting vulnerable communities, federal employees, and families at risk by throwing out any guarantee that our infrastructure will be safe," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
Congress must step up and rebuff Trump's reckless executive order as it deploys disaster relief funds in the wake of the devastation caused by tropical storm Harvey. Disaster relief legislation should restore federal flood risk standards and once again direct federal agencies to consider future flood conditions associated with climate change when planning federally funded projects.
Contact your Member of Congress
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Chris Van Hollen
Representative Jamie Raskin
Representative Andy Harris
SUGGESTED SCRIPT (Reword as you wish)
Hello, my name is (Your Name) and I'm a constituent from (Your Town). I'm calling today to ask (Senator / Representative) to work to restore the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard as Congress funds disaster relief efforts to help the communities devastated by hurricane Harvey.
President Trump's executive order dismantling the flood risk standards is reckless, short-sighted and wasteful. Catastrophic flooding is happening more often around the country. Hurricane relief aid should include common-sense measures to preserve flood plains and plan for the likelihood of future flooding events. Restoring the federal flood risk standards will help our communities be better prepared to withstand future storms.
Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address with your Representative's office to ensure your call is tallied.]
How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders
Moyers & Company, 8/29/17
Trump has put Harvey relief funds at risk
Environmental Defense Fund, 8/28/17
Torrential rains and violent storm surge: Why hurricane impacts are getting worse
Environmental Defense Fund, 8/25/17