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Wed August 21, 2013
"Climate Change" Gone From State Emergency Plan
*The original version of this story listed 1.4 million people having signed the NRDC petition, which is incorrect and has been removed. The number is reflective of NRDC membership and online participation and not the number of people who have signed the petition.
Several groups in Texas and Washington D.C. have taken issue with the Federal Emergency Management Agency allowing the State of Texas to delete "climate change" from their state emergency plan.
Texas is up for renewal of its hazard mitigation plan, which is a prerequisite for the state to receive money from the FEMA to reduce losses from natural disaster. Aliya Haq is with Washington D.C.-based Natural Resource Defense Council, who said the state refuses to add the term "climate change" to the listed disaster risks.
"Climate change changes the risk," Haq said. "Climate change is a huge factor in things like extreme heat, in hurricanes, in drought, wildfires, flooding-issues. A lot of the hazards that Texas is dealing with are affected by climate change and we’re starting to see those impacts now."
The NRDC has filed a legal petition to have FEMA require that the state include climate change in their disaster plans that is currently under review.
The state's hazard mitigation plan helps Texas come up with a solution for all the risks the state may be facing over the next three years.
"Then FEMA is allowed to give them funding to fund those activities to prepare different structures and prepare different communities for different disasters," she said.
Haq said not having enough federal funding to address that increased risk-level produced by climate change leaves millions of Texans vulnerable.