This post is part of CPR's From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery report.
The 2017 hurricane season demonstrated the “second disaster” phenomenon. Climate-fueled storms are the first, named disaster. The second disaster is the tragedy that results from the lack of preparedness of decision-makers — at all levels — who have failed to plan in a manner consistent with the risks presented.
Perhaps few phenomena underscore that more than the post-disaster displacement and long-term relocation that climate change is increasingly inducing. While there is an infrastructure to manage post-disaster displacement and support displaced persons, its ability to effectively and equitably support individuals and communities has been lacking.
For planned, long-term relocation, the circumstances are more concerning. The United States has no coherent and coordinated regulatory approach to address the core questions facing communities that will need to relocate: Who is vulnerable to a crumbling coastline? What are the parameters for determining that a community is no longer habitable? Where will they go to ensure a viable relocation? And when are these determinations made — before or after the next devastating flood event or storm?
The absence of adequate safeguards and planning are at …
This post is part of CPR's From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery report. Click here to read previously posted chapters.
By the end of the 2017 hurricane season, the American people were reeling from the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The press documented the familiar cycle of compassion, frustration, and anger. As people suffered for days, weeks, and months in communities that were flooded, without power, and in need of food and other basic supplies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the White House, and other agencies once again emerged in the role of villain for their failure to respond with adequate speed or resources, a failure with particularly deadly consequences in decimated Puerto Rico.
Assigning blame and holding the federal government to account for these victims’ suffering is an important step in learning from past mistakes. But alone, it is …
Originally published on Environmental Law Prof Blog.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross just released a statement directing NOAA to "facilitate" water use to respond to California's wildfires (the statement follows several tweets in which President Trump implied that the cause of California's wildfires was the state's ill-advised decision to let some of its rivers flow downhill to the ocean). Because I've already seen a few befuddled headlines about what this all means, I thought a short post explaining a few key points about what NOAA can and can't do here would be helpful.
This op-ed originally ran in the Bay Journal. Reprinted with permission.
Science is hard, environmental policy is complicated and regulatory science can seem endlessly confounding.
It does not have to be. Earlier this year, the Chesapeake Bay partners stepped into a time-worn trap, heeding calls from overly cautious states to wait for more refined scientific modeling of climate change impacts before taking action to eliminate pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Having punted action until 2021 at the earliest, the Bay Partnership needs policies to prevent further delay. An innovative policy tool called "stopping rules" could be the answer.
Chesapeake Bay Program scientists have determined that Bay states need to eliminate an additional 9 million pounds of nitrogen pollution and 500,000 pounds of phosphorus to offset the impacts of climate change and ensure that dissolved oxygen standards can be met in the Bay by …