In the News
September 7, 2017
By Devin Henry
House lawmakers have introduced legislation to help states and localities prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires.
The bill, from Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and a dozen others, comes as Florida braces for Hurricane Irma, and while Texas and Louisiana communities continue recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
Western states are also working to contain several wildfires.
Congress this week approved an initial recovery package for Harvey worth more than $15 billion, but lawmakers expect to spend much more in the weeks ahead to assist following the storms. Peters said in a statement that he will try to attach his bill to future aid packages.
“We can’t keep waiting for the next Harvey, or the next Irma, or the next big fire to finally have a national vision for strengthening community resiliency in the face of these increasing extreme weather events,” Peters said.
The legislation would create a clearinghouse designed to help communities lay the groundwork for disasters like hurricanes, including information on planning and response techniques that have been successful in past incidents.
The bill also establishes a federal panel to consider new ways for the government to support local communities as they prepare for storms. It would reform communication efforts between different levels of the government during disasters.
“Natural disasters should be prepared for in advance to better ensure families, businesses and communities are ready when they strike,” Stefanik said.