230323 Coalition Resilience Priorities23 HSGAC House TI
230323 Resilience and Adaptation Policy Summary HSGACTI
March 23, 2023
Dear Chairs Peters and Graves and Ranking Members Paul and Larsen:
The undersigned organizations urge you to include resilience as a priority for the work of your committees in 2023.
We represent a broad group of leaders from business, conservation, environment, open space, and state and local government. Building smart, modern, resilient infrastructure has been among our top priorities. These suggestions would add value and improve the current recent successes in the resilience and predisaster policy space, from enactment of the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Act and Community Disaster Resilience Zone Act to the resilience provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The following underscore several important issues for your consideration and support:
· Establishing a Chief Resilience Officer at the White House and calling for interagency coordination and development of a national resilience strategy.
· Increasing the portion of postdisaster funding directed for predisaster mitigation purposes, especially in FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program.
· Promoting incentives, including tax credits for individuals and businesses for predisaster mitigation expenses.
We commend your strong support for predisater mitigation and its value for the American taxpayer with an estimated benefit-cost ratio of up to 6 to 1. Resilience is, simply put, good public policy for the environment and the economy.
Chuck Chaitovitz with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be in touch with your staff to follow up.
American Council of Engineering Companies
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Landscape Architects
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
City Parks Alliance
Ecological Restoration Business Association
Interstate Council on Water Policy
Mississippi Rivers Cities and Towns Initiative
National Association of Counties
National League of Cities
National Recreation and Park Association
Reinsurance Association of America
Resilience Innovation Hub
Resilience 21 Coalition
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Conference of Mayors
cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
cc: Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
The Future of Resilience and Adaptation Policy
Priorities for 2023 -2024
Extreme weather and natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. The number of events resulting in more than $1 billion in damages is growing. Companies and communities across America are working to plan ahead of the next crises. But they need additional tools, funding, and technical assistance to address a host of risks, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. More must be done to attack systematic risks and reduce the insurance gap that will decrease future losses and ensure long-term resilience.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Mississippi River Cities & Towns
Key Discussion Points
· Resilience and adaptation are about people and communities.
· Resilience should be elevated as a national priority, on equal footing with mitigation.
· With recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding, money is no longer the major problem. More tools and partnerships (PPPs) are needed.
· Current statutes do not have all the solutions and may contain barriers to action.
· The most vulnerable communities that need to build resilience and adapt to climate risks often do not have the wherewithal to access the funding. Technical assistance is needed, and federal collaboration with private providers offers potential solutions.
· Focus cannot be only on floods, but other hazards such as droughts, heat, and wildfires.
· More data is needed to target the most at-risk communities.
· Innovative resilience solutions, including decentralized and bidirectional energy and water solutions should be considered.
Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, which was signed into law on October 5, 2018. The law allows for up to 6% of annual disaster spending into a new national public infrastructure Predisaster Mitigation fund that provides risk-reducing predisaster assistance annually through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Moreover, the Disaster Cost Share Incentive provisions passed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 allows for FEMA to incentivize qualifying states with a reduced match. The federal disaster assistance cost share reform incentive provision establishes criteria for FEMA to pay an increased 10% (up to 85% from the previous 75% baseline) in federal funds post-disaster to qualifying states that have taken steps to increase their disaster resilience and decrease their disaster risks. A blog on this cost share provision can found here.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Act (STORM Act) enacted on January 1, 2021, establishes state-based revolving loan funds to provide low interest loans for communities across the nation to implement predisaster mitigation projects.
There are a number of resilience-focused provisions in the IIJA:
· $500 million for new grant programs from EPA for water and wastewater utilities to address extreme weather risks, among others.
· $1 billion for BRIC.
· $500 million for STORM.
· $3.5 billion for flood mitigation assistance programs.
· $8.3 billion for USBR drought and wildfire work in the American West.
FEMA also announced an allocation of $2.3 billion for BRIC and $800 million for the Flood Mitigation Assistance program for FY 2023.
Finally, Congress passed several additional legislative approaches including:
· The Disaster Resiliency Planning Act would require federal agencies to consider more effective asset management strategies when developing sustainability and resilience plans.
· The Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act, among other efforts, would ensure that more funding is directed to small, disadvantaged communities that are most at risk to extreme weather and other climate hazards.
2023 Policy Opportunities and Priorities
· The National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act calls for a national resilience strategy and chief resilience officer to unify and integrate government resilience programs and initiatives to a beyond federal approach.
· The Resilient America Act would boost predisaster mitigation funding from a maximum of 6% to 15% of post-disaster spending through BRIC. The return on investment from predisaster investments is as much as 11 to 1. Specifically, the Resilient AMERICA Act increases funding and incentives, fosters the adoption and enforcement of stronger building codes, and ensures the resources and support needed to help state and local governments achieve resilience. It passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan in support the House during the last Congress by a vote of 383-41.
· The SHELTER Act, and other bonding, tax credits, and incentives.
· Andrew Young Safeguarding the Mississippi River Together Act provides the largest regional resilience and adaptation coordination for America's most climate-vulnerable communities.
· Climate RESILIENCE Act allows for federal disaster declarations on account of intense heat or cold.
· Permanent authorization of the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Response program with a focus on predisaster mitigation.
· The Disaster Act requires the Office of Management and Budget to submit an annual report to Congress on all disaster-related assistance provided by the federal government. The report must include all federal obligations related to disaster response, recovery, mitigation efforts, and administrative costs associated with these activities for specified agencies and programs.
· Flood Resilience and Taxpayer Savings Act ensures federal investments account for future flood risk.
· National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization, including a flood mitigation revolving loan fund.
· The Save Our Sequoias Act streamlines forest management projects to reduce wildfire risk to old growth forests in California.
· Technology innovation and public-private partnerships for adaptation (RIFIA).
· The Water Data Act establishes a federal framework for sharing data and information across agencies.
More technical assistance is also needed to ensure that these communities have the resources to pursue and secure funding, especially for small and disadvantaged communities. Wildfire, drought, and nature-based funding and solutions are also priorities.
We should focus on implementation of IIJA, BRIC, STORM, CRDZA, DOT Protect, and the National Resiliency Planning Act. Challenges in implementation, including consistent approaches to cybersecurity, building codes, and cost-benefit analysis, should be addressed.
Other Needed Innovation
· Pilot more contingency planning. Sixty-five percent of small businesses have no continuity plans in place. Pilots, including grants, should be made available to cities that catalyze strategic planning among small businesses and small communities.
· Incentivize and institutionalize resilience. Additional funding, technical assistance, and other benefits should be provided to states and communities that are most active in implementing predisaster mitigation, including green infrastructure and other nature-based solutions.