Cartwright Bill to Increase Resilience to Extreme Weather Passes House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Washington, DC – Yesterday, bipartisan legislation developed and introduced by U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-17) was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The PREPARE Act (H.R. 4177) was introduced with Representative Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and is cosponsored by 23 House Members. It would improve government preparedness for extreme weather incidents. The bill has already been passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, clearing the way for action on the House floor later this year.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) placed threats posed by extreme weather in its 2017 High Risk List, an accounting of the most pressing fiscal exposures the federal government faces. From 2010-2017, extreme weather events resulted in:
· 482 presidential major disaster declarations;
· 90 events that each inflicted at least $1 billion in damage; and
· A total of 2,157 fatalities and $325 billion in economic losses caused by these 90 events.
The PREPARE Act creates an interagency council to recommend the best means of planning and preparing for extreme weather. The bill also strengthens each individual agency’s resilience efforts and provides state and local officials with the best information available and best practices to help them formulate emergency preparation plans tailored to their regional and local needs.
A coalition of over 50 business and public policy leaders supports the bill. (See link below.)
“Last year, Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey and the wildfires in the West illustrated the devastating effects extreme weather can have, and they cost our nation a staggering $309 billion, said Rep. Cartwright. “A proactive approach will limit damage and reduce the costs for taxpayers. It just makes good sense to prepare for what we know is coming.”
Cartwright vowed to push for action in the House as soon as possible.
Rep. Lance said, “We need the PREPARE Act to make sure our Nation is ready for natural disasters. Severe weather events have hit our country hard this year. Coordination and preparedness are critical to protect life and property when future events occur. This legislation will ensure government agencies are sharing information properly and outlining best practices so lessons learned responding to a disaster in one part of the country can be put to use responding to others across the Nation. I thank Congressman Cartwright for taking the lead on this important issue for the entire Nation.”
Rep. Daniel Webster of the T&I Committee said, “After the devastating 2004-2005 hurricanes, Florida made specific policy and behavior changes to improve our disaster preparedness. The cornerstone of Florida’s preparedness planning is resilient construction techniques and improved communication and coordination between state and local agencies. The PREPARE Act builds on the initiatives Florida pioneered. It is a thoughtful approach to improve disaster preparedness across federal agencies to better identify and proactively mitigate risk.”
Supporting organizations can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.