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Failure to Prepare for Extreme Weather Costs Billions Each Year

Homeland Security tells Congress that weather also diverts resources away from counterterrorism.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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February 13, 2014 - 2:21 pm
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WASHINGTON – As a snowstorm prepared to blanket the nation’s capital, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told the Senate on Wednesday that extreme weather comes with a sizable price tag and the trend is likely to continue unless state and local governments improve efforts to prepare for natural disasters.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing came just weeks after a surprise snowstorm paralyzed Atlanta and just hours before Congress recessed and got out of town before a foot or more of snow moved in.

In his opening statement, the committee’s chairman, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), said that extreme weather events seem to be the “new norm.”

“Events like Superstorm Sandy, which came to our shores in the mid-Atlantic a year or so ago, and recent wildfires in other parts of the country, dangerous tornadoes, historic droughts — it may well be just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come. And even today, the East Coast is preparing for yet another snowstorm, while the West Coast is experiencing a historic drought and increased fire danger with no end in sight.”

Carper sought to avoid a discussion of climate change, saying the hearing was not intended to “hash out climate science,” but rather to find common ground on the costs – both economic and lives affected – of not being prepared for extreme weather.

“For years, I’ve been working with a number of our colleagues to address the root causes and unfolding effects of what I believe is one of the biggest challenges of our generation: climate change,” Carper said. “According to the U.S. global change research program, extreme weather events have increased in frequency over the last 50 years or so and are expected to become even more common, more intense and more costly.”

David Heyman, assistant secretary for policy at DHS, said the economic losses sustained in the U.S. in the past 30 years totaled $1.15 trillion.

In 2011, there were 98 presidentially declared disasters and the U.S. experienced 14 natural disasters, exceeding a billion dollars in cost each, a record number in both cases.

“Without a concerted effort – national resilience effort, the trend is likely to continue,” he warned.

Heyman said that investing in resilience efforts in both new and old structures is very important, citing a study by the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council that determined for every dollar the U.S. government spent on mitigation, it saved an average four dollars post-disaster.

States like Delaware have invested in improving storm resilience and the investment has paid off, according to state officials.

Collin O’Mara, secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources, said that for every dollar his state has invested in shore protection it has received $10 in storm protection value.

O’Mara said states that support storm preparation are suffering when the federal government assists ill-prepared communities that have failed to invest in storm preparation.

“We need to stop rewarding communities that fail to prepare. Right now, a state like Delaware that’s spent a lot of state and local money doesn’t receive as much after a disaster because our systems work,” O’Mara said.

Heyman said DHS is starting a pilot program called Resilience STAR based on the Energy STAR program that would set voluntary standards for building and disaster preparedness that will help communities respond to disasters much more quickly.

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Top Rated Comments   
Many scientists are extremely skeptical of the IPCC, its findings, and the very nature of the organization. Dr. Eric Karlstrom, Emeritus Professor of Geography at California State University – Stanislaus, argues that the IPCC has a political agenda promoted by international elites.

“The idea of a carbon footprint is pathetic and ludicrous propaganda, since CO2 is beneficial for life,” Dr. Karlstrom explained to AFP in an informal email exchange.

Dr. Karlstrom, who also manages a website, went on to explain the “global warming” hysteria, and it’s ultimate agenda:

“Global warming is phony science that was concocted to justify implementation of an international political agenda. The idea of using ‘man-caused global warming’ as a ‘surrogate for war’ and as a way to ‘destroy excess wealth’ originated in American and UN-related think tanks such as the Club of Rome back in the 60′s and 70′s. This pseudo-science is the centerpiece of a phony environmental movement by which the UN hopes to redistribute wealth in the world (toward the super-rich and away from the people) to de-industrialize the industrialized countries (via the UN Kyoto Protocol-type carbon taxes, cap and trade schemes, etc.), and radically reduce the human population.”

“The IPCC is essentially operating with pre-determined conclusions, namely that human activity and carbon emissions cause ‘global warming’ and other environmental and climate problems, even though there is little objective scientific evidence to demonstrate ‘global warming’ is in fact a real phenomenon,” Dr. Karlstrom says. Climate scientists working with the IPCC and other international bodies have been known to not only spin scientific data to fit their pre-determined conclusions, but also to outright fabricate “evidence” to support their idea of “man-made climate change.”

“Bottom line, they don’t want to share resources with the unwashed masses,” Dr. Karlstrom concludes.

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=13240#sthash.ffJOxiWO.dpuf
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
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Well if you expect government to plan, anticipate, and execute in a faintly intelligent manner you will be disillusioned. Oh the programs will be there, plenty of staff, civil servants with fat benefits & salaries busy planning where to go to lunch or where to do some shopping or should they read that memo that has been sitting on their desk for a week, but actually Work?
Yeah, like Katrina with the governor and mayor sitting on their hands, or like Long Island awhile back, which unbelievably has made very little progress despite, you guessed it, millions of dollars being spent, people still without homes or repairs.
Government in action, at all levels and since the start of time, run for it's own benefit and it's lard assed employees.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a ginned up crisis to get more Federal money. Winter happens every year and it is dealt with. There is no crisis that needs "solving" by DHS.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is what happens when our rulers rule themselves to be omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Everything becomes the concern of our rulers. Everything - our health, our hobbies and jobs, our families - becomes the moral equivalent of war. And war is fought not to the point of surrender, but to the death. This is no simple, slippery slope. We are on the luge run.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
And why is it the Federal Government's job to pay for states and municipalities prepare?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because the road network, the electrical power grid, and the air traffic control system are national resources.

A long-haul trucker, carrying cargo across the country, does NOT want to have to take a long expensive detour around your state just because your state can't afford road upkeep.

And a power outage in one state can cascade to other states. I remember the 1965 Northeast power blackout like it was yesterday.

BTW, the Government paid for the transcontinental railroad and the Panama Canal.

Maybe you would prefer the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, et al up here in the north, we stay open and get it done. We already have the structure and support.

When a small fraction of what we just think of as winter weather hits Atlanta, the whole place shuts down. The busiest airport in the world cannot handle traffic. That is a problem.

Drove right through the heart of this as it hit going north from Atlanta though Georgia. The main artery, I-75 was a mess. Never saw a plow or salt truck. Saw many tree and electric crews coming south to deal with it.

This is a big economic problem. A lot of trade needs to move and even a few days hits the rest of us.

You are correct. It is a state and local issue but there needs to be a push to gear up. Not good enough for the governor to plead for more federal dollars.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's because it snows so little there historically that the investment in snow clearing infrastructure is not economically sound. Government spending will not make it better.

This is just another money grab by a Federal agency. They won't spend it wisely nor will they be able to field the equipment in a timely manner to solve problems; think of all those empty FEMA trailers we bought and paid for that no one ever used .

These agencies are no longer competent enough anymore. They are staffed with crony's and political appointees, not emergency service managers with enough experience to make it happen.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh please - are you kidding me? LOOK (said the old lady)... weather happens - has happened for billions and billions of years! Mankind hasn't planned for it (as a rule) yet managed to survive. That is a true statement and constant if nothing else. Yet here we still are - amazing.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure, weather happens. That's the point.

But why must we constantly lose electrical power, have roads become impassable, etc., every time we have bad weather? Why don't we prepare for a change?

We KNOW that winter snowstorms can knock out electrical power. We KNOW that storm surges can wreck coastal communities. So why must we tolerate this, year after year?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
POSTED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2013 BY JOHN HINDERAKER IN CLIMATE
WHY DOES THE GLOBAL WARMING HOAX PERSIST?
The catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory has now been, in my opinion, definitively refuted. Yet the global warming machine grinds on, oblivious to the science. Why? Because there is a great deal of money at stake. The Science and Environmental Policy Project has the numbers:

Number of the Week: $22,195,000,000 US. As required by law, the White House delivered to Congress a report stating in Fiscal Year 2013, which ended on September 30, the US government spent $22,195,000,000 on climate change matters. The main categories are: US Global Change Research Program $2.463 Billion; Clean Energy Technologies $5.783 Billion, International Assistance $797 Million; Natural Resources Adaption $95 Million; Energy Tax Provisions That May Reduce Greenhouse Gases $4.999 Billion; Energy Payments in Lieu of Tax Provisions $8.080 Billion. The $8.080 Billion buys a lot of lobbying power for the wind and solar industries.

These expenditures further support SEPP’s earlier estimates that since 1993, the US has spent over $150 Billion on climate change. The updated figure is over $165 Billion.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/11/why-does-the-global-warming-hoax-persist.php
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be nice if these clowns would work on hardening the US power grid against EMP (http://highfrontier.org/february-12-2014-connect-the-dotsplease/#sthash.7AOJOxOk.dpbs). That would be a worthwhile shovel-ready project.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
WHY?

Which is far more likely: A crippling blizzard that shuts down a fifth of the nation, or an EMP attack from a rogue state that would seal its doom by doing so?

Don't create a strawman problem to distract us from the real issues.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, you know what makes business more resilient? Not regulating it to the edge so the margins are so tight they don't have any reserve to handle disruptions. Imposing higher costs through arbitrary minimum wage increases, mandated health insurance provisioning, etc. So are they going to let up on the back of business, review the regs, streamline compliance?

I love the guy from Delaware. He reports that Delaware gets $10 of value from every preparedness dollar spent then complains when that causes Delaware to not get as much disaster recovery money as other states. Perfect. He could do the federal incentivized route, not prepare and reap more tax dollars on recovery.

Or is he becoming a Tea Partier. He prepares but sees other states get bailed out and thinks states should not depend on government largess.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many scientists are extremely skeptical of the IPCC, its findings, and the very nature of the organization. Dr. Eric Karlstrom, Emeritus Professor of Geography at California State University – Stanislaus, argues that the IPCC has a political agenda promoted by international elites.

“The idea of a carbon footprint is pathetic and ludicrous propaganda, since CO2 is beneficial for life,” Dr. Karlstrom explained to AFP in an informal email exchange.

Dr. Karlstrom, who also manages a website, went on to explain the “global warming” hysteria, and it’s ultimate agenda:

“Global warming is phony science that was concocted to justify implementation of an international political agenda. The idea of using ‘man-caused global warming’ as a ‘surrogate for war’ and as a way to ‘destroy excess wealth’ originated in American and UN-related think tanks such as the Club of Rome back in the 60′s and 70′s. This pseudo-science is the centerpiece of a phony environmental movement by which the UN hopes to redistribute wealth in the world (toward the super-rich and away from the people) to de-industrialize the industrialized countries (via the UN Kyoto Protocol-type carbon taxes, cap and trade schemes, etc.), and radically reduce the human population.”

“The IPCC is essentially operating with pre-determined conclusions, namely that human activity and carbon emissions cause ‘global warming’ and other environmental and climate problems, even though there is little objective scientific evidence to demonstrate ‘global warming’ is in fact a real phenomenon,” Dr. Karlstrom says. Climate scientists working with the IPCC and other international bodies have been known to not only spin scientific data to fit their pre-determined conclusions, but also to outright fabricate “evidence” to support their idea of “man-made climate change.”

“Bottom line, they don’t want to share resources with the unwashed masses,” Dr. Karlstrom concludes.

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=13240#sthash.ffJOxiWO.dpuf
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Homeland Security tells Congress that weather also diverts resources away from counterterrorism."

I wasn't aware the DHS did any counterterrorism. At least not so as one would notice anyway. They seem to pretty much spend all their time harassing innocent Americans and peddling lucrative to their friends pocketbooks junk "science".
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Along those lines, have you noticed the latest National Guard commercials? They have a slew of young men and women touting that they "just saved a family from their sunken house" (paraphrasing) and they "never knew that helping people could feel so good".

This recruitment angle serves two purposes: 1) to get young people who have witnessed seeing their older family members coming back from the middle-east minus an arm or leg or worse, to sign up and 2) to reshape the guise of the military, at least in national guard terms, as an auxiliary of the fire and police department, so as to see them as civil servants and not people whose main charter is to "kill people and break things".

I can only estimate that some communist lefty is behind it all. Wherever this message is coming from needs to be put on ice and halted immediately. The charter of the national guard is not as a state's rescue auxiliary, that's what other money is for though, of course, if the military part is not otherwise engaged, they certainly should, and do, help out in disasters, but the commercials make it appear that that is their PRIMARY purpose, no a secondary.

Thus, in the true methodology of the left, they lie to get young people to sign up. Guess that's gonna blow up in their face some day too.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Harassing innocent Americans IS what passes for counterterroism at the DHS.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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