Bipartisan PREPARE Act Would Ensure Effective Resilience Planning
Given the importance of economic and environmental resilience to the well-being of low-income communities of color, ECC is proud to be an endorsing organization of the bipartisan, revenue-neutral PREPARE Act cosponsored by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.). The bill – whose full name is the Preparedness and Risk management for Extreme weather Patterns Assuring Resilience and Effectiveness Act – is to be introduced in Congress on July 23.
Extreme weather events threaten both the nation’s economic and environmental systems – including agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems and human health – and the financial health of the federal government. In the past four years alone, extreme weather has resulted in 253 presidential major disaster declarations; damage of at least $1 billion from each of 42 events; 1,286 fatalities; and $227 billion in economic losses in 44 states.
Federal Government Ill-Prepared
In addition to including the threats from extreme weather events on its 2015 High Risk List, the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2015 High Risk Report found that:
- The federal government is not well-organized to address the fiscal exposure caused by extreme weather events;
- There are no programs to monitor and independently validate the effectiveness and sustainability of agency measures to address the challenges posed to federal insurance programs by extreme weather events; and
- There is no systematic method for distributing information to state and local governments.
In response to these deficiencies, the PREPARE Act builds on recommendations in the GAO’s High Risk Report and, at no expense to taxpayers, institutionalizes executive orders that address agency planning and preparedness for extreme weather. It does so by:
- Requiring agencies to implement government-wide resilience, preparedness and risk management priorities;
- Working with local and state planners to identify regional issues and facilitate adoption of resilience, preparedness and risk management best practices; and
- Establishing a plan to ensure greater coordination among regional efforts.
“We commend the PREPARE Act’s cosponsors for joining together across party lines to address the pressing need for effective weather resilience planning -- at no cost to American taxpayers -- and to improve state and local responses to extreme weather events,” said ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca.