Through the stroke of a pen, President Obama on Friday used his executive powers to elevate and take control of climate change policies in an attempt to streamline sustainability initiatives – and potentially skirt legislative oversight and push a federal agenda on states.
The executive order establishes a task force of state and local officials to advise the administration on how to respond to severe storms, wildfires, droughts and other potential impacts of climate change. The task force includes governors of seven states — all Democrats — and the Republican governor of Guam, a U.S. territory. Fourteen mayors and two other local leaders also will serve on the task force.
All but three of those appointed are Democrats. The task force will look at federal money spent on roads, bridges, flood control and other projects. It ultimately will recommend how structures can be made more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and warming temperatures.
“We’re going to need to get prepared. And that’s why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid,” Obama said last June, when he first launched a Climate Action Plan.
“States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready… And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.”
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