Harris Announces $1 Billion to States for Floods, Extreme Heat

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” The White House is making more than $1 billion available to states to combat flooding and extreme heat exacerbated by climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris will announce the grant programs Monday at an event in Miami with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials. The competitive grants will help communities across the country prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters.

“We know the impact of the climate crisis is here and we need to invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure and economy,” the White House said in a statement.

The announcement comes as the death toll from massive flooding in Kentucky continued to rise on Sunday amid a renewed threat of more heavy rainfall. In the West, California and Montana wildfires exploded in size amid windy, hot conditions, invading neighborhoods and enforcing evacuation orders.

Multiple Western states are continuing heat advisories amid a prolonged drought that has dried up reservoirs and threatened communities across the region.

Harris will visit the National Hurricane Center for a briefing by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and FEMA. She will also visit Florida International University, where she is expected to tackle extreme weather events across the country, including the floods in Kentucky and Missouri and the California wildfires.

President Joe Biden announced last month that the government will spend money on… $2.3 billion to help communities cope with rising temperatures through programs administered by FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies. The move doubles spending on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, program, which supports states, local communities, tribes and territories in projects to reduce climate-related hazards and prepare for natural disasters such as floods and wildfires.

“Communities across our country are experiencing firsthand the devastating effects of climate change and the related extreme weather events that follow β€” more energetic hurricanes with deadlier storm surges, more flooding and a year-long wildfire season,” FEMA said. head Deanne Criswell.

The funding announced Monday will “help ensure our most vulnerable communities are not left behind, with hundreds of millions of dollars ultimately going straight to the communities that need it most,” Criswell said.

A total of $1 billion will be made available through the BRIC program, and another $160 million will be offered for flood mitigation assistance, officials said.

Jacksonville, Florida, was one of the cities to receive funding under the BRIC program last year. The city was awarded $23 million for flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure. Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, is located in a humid, subtropical region along the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean, making it vulnerable to flooding when the stormwater basins reach their capacity. The city experiences frequent flooding and is at risk of larger storms.

The South Florida Water Management District in Miami-Dade County received $50 million for flood mitigation and pump station repairs. Real estate development along the city’s burgeoning waterfront has created a high-risk floodplain for urban communities and strained existing systems, urgently requiring repairs to existing structures, officials said.

The Biden administration has launched a series of actions aimed at: reduce heat-related illness and protect public healthincluding a proposed heat standard in the workplace.

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