January 30th, 2016 22:10 EST
Obama Announces Historic Commitments to Build Climate Resilient Communities
Under President Obama`s leadership, the United States has taken more action to combat climate change than ever before. In addition to working to cut carbon pollution, build a clean energy economy and protect our natural resources, the Administration has taken unprecedented steps to better prepare communities across the country for the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change.
Today, the Administration is announcing historic commitments to building climate resilient communities, including announcing the winners of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development`s (HUD) National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). 13 states and local communities across the country will receive a combined $1 billion in disaster recover funds to rebuild and better prepare for future extreme weather and other climate change impacts. To build on our continued commitment to investing in the resilience of the most vulnerable communities, the Administration is also today announcing the expansion of the Resilience AmeriCorps and Climate Action Champions programs. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will commit an additional $4 million over three years to expand the Resilience AmeriCorps program to the 27 finalists that did not receive funding through the NDRC competition.
HUD Announces Winners of the National Disaster Resilience Competition
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced nearly $1 billion in HUD Disaster Recovery funds to the winners of the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The communities selected will use the funding to recover from prior disasters in 2011, 2012 and 2013 by deploying solutions that will improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters, hazards, and shocks. Out of 40 finalists, the winners include states and local communities that will invest in innovative coastal protection and storm water management, relocation assistance for the most distressed communities, and economic development and job creation through adaptation.
- State of California, $70,359,459: Following extreme wildfires in 2013, California will pilot its Community Watershed Resilience Program to support healthy, resilient forests, develop a bioenergy and wood products facility and build support centers to serve rural communities during emergencies.
- State of Connecticut, $54,277,359: Connecticut is focused on building support for economically-isolated coastal neighborhoods by investing in green streets and exploring opportunities to utilize microgrids and alternative energy systems.
- State of Iowa, $96,887,177: Iowa, which has experienced extreme flooding and torrential rainfall "both expected to increase in frequency and intensity with rising temperatures--is focused on a watershed-based approach to increase water quality upstream while sustaining its valuable agricultural economy and protecting vulnerable residents in downstream communities.
- State of Louisiana, $92,629,249: Louisiana, which has increasingly suffered from extreme weather in coastal communities, will enable a tribal community on the Isle de Jean Charles, which has experienced a 98 percent loss of land relative to 1955, to relocate to a resilient and historically significant community.
- Minot, North Dakota, $74,340,770: A major regional agricultural, energy and economic hub, Minot, ND experienced extreme flooding in 2011 that overwhelmed the city`s levee system and damaged close to a third of the area`s housing. Minot will launch three integrated projects to reduce flood risk and increase resilience, build affordable and resilient neighborhoods that meet ENERGYSTAR certification and foster economic diversification.
- State of New Jersey, $15,000,000: New Jersey plans on developing a comprehensive planning process to identify and address vulnerabilities and promote sustainable development, and work with university partners to develop a toolkit of best practices to assist other communities across the country.
- New Orleans, Louisiana, $141,260,569: Following Hurricane Isaac in 2012, the City of New Orleans identified major gaps in resilience and risks to vulnerable communities. To address these gaps, the city is looking to reduce flood risk by incorporating green infrastructure, investing in reliable energy and water systems, restoring coastal ecosystems, expanding workforce development and create a citywide performance management program.
- New York, New York, $176,000,000: As part of the city`s policy to create a stronger, more resilient and affordable city, New York City will invest in the Lower Manhattan Protect and Connect Project to construct a coastal flood protection system. The System will increase coastal protections while also enhancing the connection between the neighborhoods and to community facilities.
- State of New York, $35,800,000: In response to significant damage from extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, New York State will invest in repairs from past damage and pilot new and innovative approaches to build resilience in low-income public housing.
- Shelby County, Tennessee, $60,445,163: Shelby County, which borders the Mississippi River, will focus on a series of open space and green infrastructure activities that will help make the greater Memphis area more resilient in future disaster and flooding events.
- Springfield, Massachusetts, $17,056,880: The City of Springfield, where increased rainfall and extreme weather has overwhelmed the city`s water and energy infrastructure, will invest in a series of projects to ensure clean redundant energy sources, restore affordable housing stock, invest in job training and workforce development, and increase public engagement in conservation activities and the development of the city`s climate change plan.
- State of Tennessee, $44,502,374: Tennessee plans on blending traditional infrastructure and nature-based approaches in an effort to build resilience in communities along the Mississippi River.
- Commonwealth of Virginia, $120,549,000: Virginia will build water management solutions such as green infrastructure projects to strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods and improve economic vitality.
Expanding Resilience AmeriCorps Program to Include Finalists of the National Disaster Resilience Competition
Today, the Administration is also announcing the expansion of the Resilience AmeriCorps and Climate Action Champions programs to the NDRC finalists, including the commitment from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to make at least $4 million available over the next three years to more than double the current size of the Resilience AmeriCorps program.
- More than Doubling the Size of the Resilience AmeriCorps Program: Following the announcement of the National Disaster Resilience Competition winners, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will make $4 million available over three years to expand the Resilience AmeriCorps program to the finalists that did not receive funding through the competition. The Resilience AmeriCorps program recruits, trains, and embeds AmeriCorps VISTA members in communities across the country, where the effects of climate change are often most acutely felt, to help develop preparedness plans and assist local leaders as they plan for and address the impacts of extreme weather events. This commitment will place new Resilience AmeriCorps members in up to 27 low-income communities that the NDRC process has identified as promising candidates for additional federal resources. The 27 finalists will have the opportunity to receive direct, on the ground assistance from Resilience AmeriCorps members, who are already helping build resilience in communities across the country.
- Growing the Climate Action Champions Program: In addition, the Administration is announcing that all NDRC Finalists that have the opportunity to receive Resilience AmeriCorps volunteers will also be able to participate in the Climate Action Champions program, one of the Administration`s community-based initiatives operating across the country. The Climate Action Champions Initiative was launched by the White House and the Department of Energy in 2014 in collaboration with a broad range of Federal agencies, and in 2016 it expanded in partnership with CNCS. These communities will have the opportunity to receive peer-to-peer support to further their resilience efforts and technical assistance from an inter-Agency working group launched in 2015 to focus on the Champions and leverage existing Federal resources in a meaningful way.
- Photo Credit: Wikipedia