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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

Representing the 8th District of Illinois

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Calls on FEMA to Incorporate Climate Change Impacts Into Projecting Flood And Disaster Risks

September 11, 2017
Press Release

SCHAUMBURG, IL - Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi called upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today to issue a report on any steps FEMA is taking to help communities address the increasing likelihood of severe weather through incorporating the impacts of climate change into its risk projections, including flood maps.

"The scientific evidence of climate change is undeniable and so too is its potential to destabilize weather patterns and increase the likelihood of extreme weather events," said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. "As our country recovers from the devastating human and material costs of the recent string of one-hundred-year floods and hurricanes, it is vital that government agencies, communities, and businesses have the best available risk assessments for future storms. To guarantee the quality of our weather projections, the impacts of climate change must be taken into account.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi's letter to Administrator Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency follows:

 

September 11, 2017

Administrator Brock Long

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street, SW

Washington, DC 20472

 

Dear Administrator Long:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s responsibility to protect the United States from natural and man-made disasters is one of the most important functions of the federal government. The increased dangers posed by climate change and the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey along with the incredible ferocity of Hurricane Irma underscore the stakes of adequate preparation. One-hundred year floods and hurricanes are happening too regularly; forest fires are raging with an intensity and frequency not seen until now; and other severe weather events are occurring that outdated weather models and maps are not properly accounting for.  If we do not properly prepare for these events, our citizens and taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for inadequate preparation.

In July, the House of Representatives recognized the national security implications of failing to address climate change. The FY2018 NDAA acknowledged that climate change is a direct threat to national security and required the Department of Defense to take climate change into account when assessing threats, use of resources, and readiness. 

It is long past time for civilians to have the same level of preparation. When planning for storms, communities need to have the most up-to-date information about the threats and dangers posed by severe weather. Engineers need to know the true likelihood of encountering hurricane-force winds, severe floods, and other extreme weather.

To this end, I respectfully request that you provide me with all the steps FEMA is taking to help communities address the increasing likelihood of severe weather. Specifically, I would like to know if FEMA is taking the greater odds of severe weather and climate change into account in the Risk MAP program and when drawing flood maps.

The human and economic cost of climate change is no longer academic, and our failure to take this into account will only increase the toll of future storms.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Member of Congress

A copy of the signed letter is available here