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Climate Hawk Sheldon Whitehouse Introduces Climate Resilience Legislation

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"Climate Hawk Sheldon Whitehouse Introduces Climate Resilience Legislation"

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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

With incidents of prolonged drought, rising sea levels, and flooding on the rise, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a bill on Wednesday to require federal natural resource agencies to plan for the long-term effects of climate change, and encourage states to prepare natural resources adaptation plans. The Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act (SAFE) Act also would create a science advisory board to ensure that the planning uses the best available science. The proposed legislation would require the development of a coordinated national adaptation strategy:

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Panel shall develop a strategy to protect, restore, and conserve natural resources so that natural resources become more resilient, adapt to, and withstand the ongoing and expected impacts of climate variability and change.

It would also encourage, but not require, state-specific adaptation plans.

Effects of climate change mentioned as examples in the legislation are droughts and heatwaves, storms and floods; wildfires; outbreaks of forest pests and invasive species; flooding and erosion of coastal areas due to rising sea levels; melting glaciers and sea ice; thawing permafrost; shifting fish, wildlife, and plant population ranges; disruptive shifts in the timing of fish, wildlife, and plant natural history cycles, such as blooming, breeding, and seasonal migrations; and ocean acidification.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), also a member of EPW. Baucus has repeatedly opposed action to limit climate change pollution.

Download the SAFE Act (as prepared for introduction).

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