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Friday, June 21st, 2024

Federal NCARS Act introduced to push national resilience strategy against natural disasters

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A group of federal lawmakers recently introduced the National Coordination on Adaptation and Resilience for Security (NCARS) Act to create a national resilience strategy in the face of increasingly prevalent natural disasters spurred on by climate change.

Backed by U.S. Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Curtis (R-UT) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) in the House, and U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate, the bill would create a unifying strategy focused on protecting Americans from natural disasters. As the effects of climate change worsen, such disasters have been more commonplace, from wildfires in the West turning from seasonal to year-round affairs, to increased risks of flooding and storms in Florida.

“Miami communities are at risk and are ground-zero for rising waters,” Salazar said. “We must come together to protect Florida families and improve disaster planning. I’m proud to lead the National Coordination on Adaptation and Resilience for Security (NCARS) Act to ensure we build stronger infrastructure and keep our communities safe.”

The bill would set the federal government in pursuit of a National Adaptation and Resilience Strategy and an Implementation Plan with federal, state, local, private sector and non-profit partners. Specifically, a Chief Resilience Officer role would be established at the White House to guide the plan, while interagency working groups would be created to bolster efforts and accountability, and a federal information hub to get those resources to communities.

“As we work to aggressively combat the climate crisis, we must also prepare our communities for the unavoidable devastation of climate change,” Peters said. “In San Diego, this includes more frequent and intense wildfires, drought, heat waves, and rising sea levels that endanger the health, safety, and livelihoods of people in my district. A robust national strategy led by a Chief Resilience Officer, instead of a patchwork of disparate efforts, will be essential for an effective response to the increasingly dangerous climate hazards our communities face.”

Currently, the federal approach can best be described as an umbrella, with duplicative efforts at disaster mitigation and preparation echoed across at least 17 federal agencies. Nothing unites them at the top though, and this bill seeks to change that.

The effort has also been backed by at least 17 organizations nationwide, from Pew Charitable Trusts and the Nature Conservancy, to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) and The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB).