As potentially devastating hurricane and wildfire seasons approach, President Joe Biden
's administration announced on Monday that it is allocating $1 billion to communities to help them prepare for extreme weather
The announcement comes just days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed a 60% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, which typically runs from June to November.
“I’m here today to make it clear that I want nothing less than readiness for all of these challenges,” Biden said Monday from the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The $1 billion, which will be distributed to communities, states, and tribal governments, is “twice as much funding as was available last year,” according to Biden.
It will be part of the Building Resilient Infrastructure
and Communities (BRIC) program, which “seeks to categorically shift the federal focus from reactive disaster spending to research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience so that when the next hurricane, flood, or wildfire comes, communities are better prepared,” according to the White House
’s announcement about the funding.
“It’s not about red states and blue states; it’s about having people
’s backs,” Biden said, making a not-so-subtle reference to former President Donald Trump
’s partisan response to natural disasters.
predecessor repeatedly blamed California
for the wildfires
, saying the blue state needed to clean its forest floors and threatening to withhold disaster funding, despite the fact that forest floors had nothing to do with the fires and the worst of the blazes occurred on federally managed land.
Trump also dismissed the need to prepare for climate-related disasters, frequently denying the role of rising global temperatures in natural disasters and making puzzling remarks. “It will start getting cooler. You just watch,” he said last September while surveying wildfire damage in California.
It has not begun to cool; in fact, NASA announced a few months after Trump's remarks that 2020 had tied 2016 as the warmest year on record.
Trump also threw paper towels at hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico in 2017.
Biden said Monday from FEMA
headquarters that there are "a few lessons" to be learned from last year, emphasizing the importance of being realistic about what climate change
“Last year, as you all know, we faced the most named storms on record, with seven of the 30 named storms alone claiming 86 lives and causing more than $14 billion in damage,” Biden said. “This year, NOAA is focusing on another severe season, perhaps not as bad as 2020, but still quite bad, and we all know that these storms are coming.