Dec 4, 2018

Congress Is Embracing More Resilient Solutions Thanks to YOU

Major flooding in N. Carolina (Liz Roll-FEMA)
Major flooding in N. Carolina (Liz Roll-FEMA)

It’s not making the headlines, but your generosity to EESI is making a difference: Congress is actually embracing more resilient solutions! Most recently, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by the president.

Thanks to your commitment, EESI and a wide variety of advocates worked to advance DRRA. The new law makes major improvements, enhancing community resilience!

As part of a greater focus on mitigation, it contains reforms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the availability of “pre-disaster mitigation” (PDM) grants to help communities better withstand future disasters. It establishes a set-aside of disaster-relief funds into a National Public Infrastructure PDM Fund.

It also creates incentives for communities to adopt and enforce modern building codes that incorporate hazard-resilient design standards and it removes financial barriers for rebuilding in areas less vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters.

“In passing this bill, Congress has taken a major step forward in disaster preparedness. EESI applauds this bicameral, bipartisan effort that recognizes the value of investing in mitigation and smart rebuilding as a common-sense alternative to spending billions for post-disaster rebuilding only to have it destroyed by the next storm,” said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner.

Investing in mitigation is very important now that climate change is increasing the intensity and impact of extreme weather events, as Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and the California wildfires have shown just this fall.

There is so much more to do as we head toward the new Congress in January — Congressional offices are already asking for ideas and input.

With your renewed support, EESI will be there to offer advice and information and will continue to promote policy solutions that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Because YOU are prioritizing ways to move forward towards a clean energy and resilient future, we plan to hold additional briefings in our series on Building Secure and Resilient Infrastructure.

Federal action plays a critical role in shaping resilience efforts at all levels of government.

We need to continue engaging on various aspects of resilience—flood insurance reform, stronger building codes, built and natural infrastructure, grid modernization and smart grid development—to advance resilience policy that makes a real difference to communities! 

Your support to EESI makes a difference!

High water (Florida National Guard, Ching Oettel)
High water (Florida National Guard, Ching Oettel)
(Louisiana National Guard, Sgt. Rashawn D. Price)
(Louisiana National Guard, Sgt. Rashawn D. Price)
(New York Air National Guard, Sgt. C. Muncy)
(New York Air National Guard, Sgt. C. Muncy)
EESI Briefing on the Hill in October 2018 (EESI)
EESI Briefing on the Hill in October 2018 (EESI)
Thank you for your support! Happy holidays!
Thank you for your support! Happy holidays!

Links:

Sep 7, 2018

Hurricane Maria Shows Clear and Urgent Need for Resilience as Climate Change Intensifies Extremes

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard, Lisa Ferdinando
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard, Lisa Ferdinando

When Harvard Medical School published its report estimating the death count from Hurricane Maria, there was an uproar: researchers put Puerto Rico’s death toll at more than 4,600—72 times the then-official count of 64. If the Harvard estimate is accurate, the storm was the costliest in lives lost in over a century for the United States.

The study confirmed what those on the ground knew: the hurricane's terrible devastation—causing $90 billion in damage—was followed by an inexcusably slow response, resulting in more deaths long after the storm had passed. Indeed, the report estimated that over a third of the deaths (more than 1,500) occurred during the recovery, as a result of the island’s lack of power, when life-saving appliances and air conditioning units could not operate.

We must work together to prevent such devastation as the result of extreme weather again. Greater resilience is key. Thanks to YOU, EESI is holding a briefing series on Building Resilient and Secure Infrastructure. You are helping to showcase best practices from states and communities across the country to inform policymakers and stakeholders about what's working (and what’s not). You make a difference!

Thanks to your committed actions, EESI’s panels, factsheets, and work in coalition all help us move toward the goal of long-term energy reliability and resilience. This will help ensure economic development, public health and safety, national security, fiscal responsibility, enhanced equity, jobs, and quality of life – all possible because of YOU so please renew your support today.

Hurricane Maria conjures memories of Katrina in New Orleans. It confirms that when disasters strike in areas affected by chronic disinvestment, the impacts can be apocalyptic. This is all the more troubling as climate change is already increasing the severity and frequency of extreme weather.

In Puerto Rico, we are seeing glimpses of the future of energy in its hospitals, community centers, and schools. Microgrids, smart grids, and solar-plus-storage systems can provide resilient power to key buildings and even to entire municipalities. Besides reducing the cost of electricity to users, these technologies and systems reduce dependence on the electric grid. This increased self-reliance is especially valuable when the grid fails—such as during hurricanes, wildfires, or other natural disasters!

That’s why Puerto Rico’s Energy Commission has recommended investing in community solar projects—something made easier with our recommended On-Bill Financing approach, which removes the need for upfront financing by households.

Please renew your gift today and help us to keep showcasing sensible and resilient solutions - with your continued support through GlobalGiving! Through your efforts we can make sure that life-saving appliances can operate quickly again after a storm! Donors like YOU help us engage with policymakers to find bipartisan and win-win solutions that advance resilience. Together we can make a difference! Thank you!

Municipality of Loiza. Credit: FEMA, Yuisa Rios
Municipality of Loiza. Credit: FEMA, Yuisa Rios
Emergency supplies. Credit: FEMA, Yuisa Rios
Emergency supplies. Credit: FEMA, Yuisa Rios
EESI Executive Director Carol Werner
EESI Executive Director Carol Werner
A shelter in Vieques. Credit: FEMA, Andrea Booher
A shelter in Vieques. Credit: FEMA, Andrea Booher

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Jun 5, 2018

Congressional Staffer to Donor: Jim Turner's Story

Jim Turner
Jim Turner

Former congressional staffer Jim Turner understands the importance of objective, solutions-based information in regard to legislation and policy. He offers a valuable perspective on the impact EESI has had—for more than 30 years!—in giving Congressional staff the tools and information they need for policymaking.

Turner began working on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant in 1975, the same year that EESI’s predecessor, the Environmental and Energy Study Conference, was founded. He tracked environmental and energy issues and experienced firsthand the overwhelming task of advising members of Congress on highly complex legislation and policies.

Through his time as a legislative assistant and later on as a committee staffer, Turner relied on EESI’s work to learn about pressing issues in a limited amount of time. He expressed his gratitude for EESI’s efforts, saying “EESI is uniquely positioned to inform each successive Congress on the merits of energy and environmental legislation. There is a lot of information available to staff, but not a lot of objective information that is tailored to helping busy Members and staff understand the importance and consequences of their actions.”

The role of Congress, as keeper of the nation’s purse strings and as a balance to executive branch actions, is critically important—and EESI’s assistance—and yours--is urgently needed. EESI is focused on informing Congress, those who influence them, and the media.

Guiding Congressional staff and their Members of Congress is critical, as is evidenced in this Washington Post’s article about insufficient expertise or staff to guide Members of Congress. The Post stated: 

"But at a time when lawmakers are badly in need of advice from their staff, the typical lawmaker will have fewer of them to turn to. The average number of aides supporting a rank-and-file House member has been in decline for several years because of budget cuts."

Turner also emphasized that he was appreciative of EESI’s bipartisan approach to environmental policy, offering that “EESI is providing information from a policy perspective rather than a perspective of personal gain. The briefings, the website and written materials, and EESI being there to answer questions are crucial to balanced legislation.” Because of this, Turner cites EESI as an essential tool in fostering sensible environmental policy and has continued to be an avid supporter of EESI’s mission.

Turner’s story shows one of the many ways that people express their desire for informed environmental policy—namely by giving in the way that works for them and brings them satisfaction and joy. We are incredibly grateful to Jim and give him our deepest thanks for his long-term commitment to sustainable energy policy. Turner and donors like YOU are making better environmental policy for the United States possible at a time when so much is at stake! The tangible progress our country has made – through your committed actions and ours – is at risk.

Engaging with Congress and the general public on common-sense energy and climate issues is more important than ever. Please renew your gift today – this work is urgent! Thank you!

Public Transportation Investment Panel
Public Transportation Investment Panel
EESI Executive Director Carol Werner
EESI Executive Director Carol Werner
A full house at the May Biogas briefing
A full house at the May Biogas briefing

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