Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 11:59 pm | Overcast 58º


Obama’s Climate Action Plan Includes Several Capps Initiatives

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday applauded President Barack Obama for unveiling his much-awaited federal strategy for addressing climate change.

In his speech Tuesday at Georgetown University, President Obama outlined his Climate Adaptation Plan, which sets a path forward for reducing climate-disrupting carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, helping local communities adapt to the climate change impacts that cannot be avoided, and leading international efforts to address this issue of global importance.

The Climate Action Plan, which enables administrative action in the absence of adopted climate change legislation, includes many of Rep. Capps’ climate change initiatives, including a strong focus on improving resiliency at the community level by encouraging federal-state partnerships and calling for the establishment of a panel of state, local, and tribal leaders to advise the federal government on how they can best help communities.

“Climate change is one of the most significant threats currently facing our country,” Capps said. “I applaud President Obama for taking action on this critical issue and following through on his commitment to address climate change and am pleased to see that his plan includes several priorities I have been pushing the administration to adopt, including helping local communities plan and implement climate change adaptation strategies. As the representative of a district that is already experiencing changes like increasing wildfires, rising sea level and faster coastal erosion, I know that the impacts of climate change are felt at the local level. It is imperative to help states and localities prepare for these changes.”

Last February, Rep. Capps led a letter to the president, with 39 of her colleagues, urging him to develop a comprehensive plan to help local communities prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change and associated extreme weather events. Several of the measures highlighted in the letter are included in the president’s Climate Action Plan, including establishing of a task force to identify key actions the federal government can take to strengthen the resiliency of local communities and providing additional tools and information for state and local governments to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The president’s Climate Action Plan also includes policies from several pieces of legislation Capps has authored to prepare for climate change’s impacts on public health, water infrastructure and our coastlines. This includes policies to improve the sustainability and resiliency of hospitals, train public-health professionals and community leaders to prepare their communities for the health consequences of climate change, support smarter, more resilient investments in water infrastructure and management, and assist coastal communities adapt to the unique challenges they will face from sea level rise and coastal erosion.

The Capps legislation these proposals are pulled from are:

» Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act (House Resolution 2023), which would support research, planning and interagency coordination to develop a national plan to help local public health professionals prepare for and respond to the public health effects of climate change.

» Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act (H.R. 765), which would help local water utilities prepare for the impacts of climate-related risks to their operations.

» Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act (H.R. 764), which would help coastal states update their coastal management plans and implement on-the-ground climate change resiliency projects.

“Even as we work diligently to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, communities will have to face the very real challenges posed by climate change for many generations to come,” Capps said. “Climate change impacts — from stronger storms hitting our coastlines to changes in fresh water supply — ultimately affect public health. I am grateful that the president’s Climate Action Plan recognizes the threats that climate change pose to public health and prioritizes preparing our public health professionals and facilities for these challenges.”

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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