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The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing about the bipartisan PREPARE Act, which seeks to improve our nation’s ability to withstand and recover from the impacts of extreme weather and reduce the financial impact on taxpayers.
Over the past four years, the United States has been hit by 42 major weather disasters across 44 states, resulting in 1,286 deaths and $227 billion in economic losses. In its two latest High Risk Lists, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cited extreme weather as one of the greatest threats to the federal government’s balance sheet. To improve federal agencies’ ability to plan and prepare for extreme weather events, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) reintroduced the Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience and Effectiveness (PREPARE) Act this year on July 23. The bill (H.R. 3190) currently has 18 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
According to GAO, the government is at risk from extreme weather on several fronts: as an insurer, as a property owner, and as the leading provider of disaster aid. The federal government is the insurer of last resort for much of the nation’s crops (through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation), and it runs the National Flood Insurance Program, which is particularly exposed to weather-related losses. The federal government is also the nation’s main property owner, with hundreds of thousands of facilities—many of which are at risk from extreme weather.
Building off GAO’s findings, the PREPARE Act creates an interagency structure to ensure that all agencies implement resiliency and risk management priorities; directs agencies to work closely with local and state planners to facilitate the adoption of best practices; and instructs agencies to establish comprehensive regional coordination plans to react quickly and effectively when weather disasters strike. Because the legislation calls for better intra- and interagency planning, it does not require any new spending. On the contrary, it could save billions of dollars in the long run, by helping citizens and communities better prepare for extreme weather and by better coordinating federal action.
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