NRDC Petitions FEMA to Require Climate Change Assessment in State Disaster Plans

Yesterday, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation filed a petition with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would require states to incorporate climate change assessments in their hazard mitigation plans.

FEMA administers several federal mitigation grant programs under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Management Act, including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Repetitive Flood Claims, and Severe Repetitive Loss.   In order to be eligible to receive funding, states must have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan in place that identifies the state’s natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities.

Given the increasing scientific research connecting climate change and increased natural disasters (both increased frequency and severity), the NRDC argues that state hazard mitigation plans must incorporate climate change predictions in order to present a comprehensive vulnerability assessment.

The petition asks FEMA to 1) approve only those state mitigation plans that incorporate climate change, 2) initiate a new rulemaking to explicitly confirm the need for a climate change assessment, and 3) issue interim guidance on the inclusion of climate change in the upcoming 2013 mitigation plans.

The full petition can be read here.

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