Despite the severe impacts of extreme weather events, Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change and expose their constituents to health and safety dangers

Across the country, tens of millions of Americans are experiencing the effects of extreme weather events. From the record-shattering heat wave across the Midwest and Northeast, to devastating flooding in Iowa and Minnesota, to raging wildfires in New Mexico, Oregon, and California, communities in every corner of the country are being directly impacted by the compounding effects of extreme weather. The Atlantic is also facing an active hurricane seasonal outlook that will require residents to maintain vigilance against flooding and wind threats. In addition to posing direct threats to lives and livelihoods, major weather events – which are becoming increasingly extreme due to the climate crisis – have had significant economic impacts: last year’s record 28 individual billion-dollar extreme weather and climate disasters caused more than $90 billion in aggregate damage.

Meanwhile, many Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change and remain committed to repealing the President’s Inflation Reduction Act – the biggest climate protection bill ever – which would undermine the health and safety of their own constituents.

As the impacts of flooding, drought, wildland fires, heat waves, and other extreme weather events intensify, President Biden is delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in American history — an agenda that is lowering energy costs for hardworking families, bolstering America’s energy security, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, and strengthening community-driven climate resilience across the country.

Today, the President is receiving an operational briefing on extreme weather forecasts for this summer, and he will announce new actions to protect workers and families from the impacts of extreme weather, including:  

  • The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing a rule to protect workers that, if finalized, would establish the nation’s first-ever federal safety standard addressing excessive heat in the workplace. The risk that extreme heat poses to certain workers has long been recognized – even apart from the impacts of climate change. Recognizing these risks, the proposed rule includes requirements for identifying heat hazards, developing heat illness and emergency response plans, providing training to employees and supervisors, and implementing work practice standards — including rest breaks, access to shade and water, and heat acclimatization for new employees. If finalized, OSHA projects the rule would affect approximately 36 million workers and substantially reduce heat injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is announcing nearly $1 billion dollars in awards for 656 projects across the country to help communities protect against disasters and natural hazards, including extreme heat, storms, and flooding. Historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program will go to projects that will eliminate or reduce flood damage, mitigate the effects of extreme heat, and enhance infrastructure resilience. Projects include $50 million to Philadelphia, PA, to improve the resilience of a stormwater pump station and mitigate flooding; $6 million to Goldsboro, NC, for an improved flood drainage channel; and $724,000 to build shaded bus stops in areas of high heat exposure in Washington, D.C. This program is part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy and other investment areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a new report showing the continuing and far-reaching impacts of climate change on the people and environment of the United States. The report highlights how climate change impacts – including heat waves, sea surface temperatures, coastal flooding, and wildfires – are increasingly affecting people’s health, society, and ecosystems in a variety of ways. For example, the report notes that the average length of the heat wave season is 46 days longer today than it was in the 1960s and, in recent years, the average heat wave in major U.S. urban areas has lasted about four days – about a full day longer than the average heat wave in the 1960s.

President Biden is also announcing that later this summer, he will bring together state, local, Tribal, and Territorial leaders – who are protecting U.S. communities and workers from extreme weather every day and helping strengthen America’s global leadership on climate – for a White House Summit on Extreme Heat. Today’s announcements build on numerous actions that the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to bolster our preparedness and resilience nationwide, including working with state, local, Tribal, and territorial partners to provide clear and accessible information on how individuals and communities can protect themselves from extreme weather events.

Protecting Communities from Extreme Heat: President Biden has taken historic action to protect workers and communities from the impacts of extreme heat, including lowering home energy costs and helping more Americans stay safe, cool, and healthy in their homes. President Biden has also taken important steps to increase the resilience of the power system against extreme heat and wildfires, including through more than $14 billion to enhance grid flexibility and grid resilience, including the deployment of resilience-enhancing microgrids and energy storage. The Administration has also announced $1 billion in grants to expand equitable access to trees and green spaces in urban communities, which will reduce heat-island effects and cool cities. The Administration is also strengthening America’s leadership overseas, including by convening global stakeholders to advance heat-related resilience efforts and reducing heat risk for U.S. workers abroad. To better equip local officials and the public with robust and accessible information, the Administration launched, a centralized portal with real-time, interactive data and resources on extreme heat conditions, preparedness, and response.

Combating the Growing Threat of Wildfires: In addition to implementing a Wildfire Crisis Strategy that will limit the impact and severity of fires, the Administration has invested $7 billion to expand the wildland firefighter workforce, deployed new technology to better respond to fires, and completed a historic 6.85 million acres of hazardous fuels treatments. The Administration also launched a new Community Wildfire Defense Grant program that helps local communities develop and implement wildfire preparedness plans. In addition, the Administration is tackling the pronounced health effects of wildfire smoke by investing over $10 million to enhance wildfire smoke preparedness and protection in communities across the West. and its specialized Fire and Smoke Map provide Americans with real-time information about smoke and air quality so people can make informed decisions about how to stay safe.

Reducing Flood Risk for Households and Communities: Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does not cover flood damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program is helping communities proactively protect their homes, businesses, and belongings from unexpected flood damage by providing guidance to communities on how they can mitigate their flood risk. In addition to investing billions of dollars to reduce flood risks across America and protect communities from rising insurance costs, President Biden also reinstated and is implementing the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which ensures that Federal agencies are considering and managing current and future flood risks in order to build a more resilient nation.

Strengthening Water Security Across the West: Over the past two decades, the Colorado River Basin has experienced the driest period in the region in over one thousand years. President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda is providing over $15 billion—and has already funded nearly 500 projects—to enhance the West’s resilience to drought, including projects to reuse, recycle, recharge, store, conserve, and desalinate water resources, and to revitalize aging water infrastructure. The Administration has also taken historic action to conserve millions of acre-feet of water in the Colorado River Basin, securing our nation’s water resources for future generations and staving off the immediate collapse of the Colorado River.

Promoting Climate-Smart Buildings and Infrastructure: Buildings and infrastructure investments last for generations when done right, so it is critical to plan and build in ways that promote climate resilience. President Biden’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes is accelerating adoption of modern building codes that protect people from extreme-weather events and save communities an estimated $1.6 billion a year in avoided damages. The Administration is also making billions of dollars available to build climate-smart buildings and green infrastructure which will keep American’s homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Empowering Communities to Better Understand and Plan for Climate Risk: The Biden-Harris Administration is advancing actionable data, information, tools, and technical assistance to help people understand and address their climate risks. These tools will help communities understand and plan for local climate-related hazards ; assess changes in coastal flood risk  ensure that Federal agencies are producing coordinated, actionable climate information; and increase support for regional applied science and services centers.

Incorporating Climate Risk into Decision-Making: Extreme weather, intensified by climate change, threatens the U.S. economy and the financial security of families, businesses, and workers. President Biden’s Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk ensures that climate risk and resilience actions are appropriately factored into the formulation and execution of the President’s Budget, thereby properly managing and protecting Federal funding on behalf of taxpayers. This includes formally accounting for the risks that climate change pose in the President’s Budget for the first time.

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