FEMA becomes the thought police


Among the myriad things the Federal Emergency Management Agency does, like screw up disaster response, take long lunches, and provide work for the otherwise unemployable, is providing money the states for disaster mitigation. Disaster mitigation isn’t sexy but it is surprisingly effective. Like, don’t build on a flood plain. Hire building inspectors to make sure that developers are following building codes (during Hurricane Andrew much of the damage to homes could have been avoided if the homes had merely been constructed according to existing building codes). In the past, all a state needed to do to receive money for disaster mitigation was a) identify major potential causes of disasters and b) come up with a reasonable plan to mitigate those disasters. Now FEMA has decided you have to think the right thoughts:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.

This may put several Republican governors who maintain the earth isn’t warming due to human activities, or prefer to do nothing about it, into a political bind. Their position may block their states’ access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. Over the past five years, the agency has awarded an average $1 billion a year in grants to states and territories for taking steps to mitigate the effects of disasters.

“If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn’t want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics,” said Becky Hammer, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state” because of his climate beliefs.

The policy doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood or other disaster. Specifically, beginning in March 2016, states seeking preparedness money will have to assess how climate change threatens their communities. Governors will have to sign off on hazard mitigation plans. While some states, including New York, have already started incorporating climate risks in their plans, most haven’t because FEMA’s old 2008 guidelines didn’t require it.

And we aren’t talking chump change.

FEMA’s disaster preparedness program has been granting money to states since the 1980s for projects as diverse as raising buildings out of floodplains and building safe rooms. States are required to update their plans every five years to be eligible for the agency’s mitigation funding. Since 2010, FEMA has doled out more than $4.6 billion to states and territories as part of this program.

Republican-led regions constitute eight of the top 10 recipients of this category of FEMA money between 2010 and 2014. Louisiana was No. 1, having received almost $1.1 billion from FEMA for hazard mitigation. New Jersey was third with nearly $379 million, and Texas fourth with almost $343 million.

Many (maybe most) fund mitigation efforts from fees associated with building/construction permits and inspections. This type of cut would force non-compliant governors into a series of bad choices.

This is simply bull**** on stilts. The obvious corollary to this is that states need to have a plan for responding to a Zombie Apocalypse because even, arguendo, man-caused climate change exists it is well beyond the ability of the states to change anything. Maybe they can adopt Sam Kinnison’s advice to Ethiopia (video is NSFW/language).

You want to help world hunger? Stop sending them food. Don’t send them another bite, send them U-Hauls. Send them a guy that says, “You know, we’ve been coming here giving you food for about 35 years now and we were driving through the desert, and we realized there wouldn’t BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS!

Practically, this requirement, coming in an election year, is almost certain to generate a legal challenge and it is difficult to see how, in light of the Medicaid decision in NFIB v. Sebelius, the requirements survive. Requiring a plan for this particular event in order to receive funding for other mitigation efforts is not very different.

As Ben Howe pointed out yesterday, while many of us think Obama is a failure because of the way he has trashed our economy, our military, and our diplomacy, he’s been very effective at moving the ball forward in the progressive cause. Requiring planning for a non-influence-able event creates legitimacy for the man-caused climate change, it creates highly paid sinecures for the far-left enviro-wackos that believe in it to work on the plans, and it makes the state budget dependent upon supporting the cause.

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