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Biden bolsters extreme weather preparation funding during FEMA visit

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President Joe Biden on Monday announced his administration would invest $1 billion in extreme weather preparation ahead of hurricane season.

“We’re going to spare no expense, no effort, to keep Americans safe and respond to crises when they arise, and they certainly will,” Biden said during a visit to Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

The President noted last year set a record for the number of named storms, and said the new funding would prepare the US for the upcoming hurricane and fire seasons across the country.

“We all know that these storms are coming, and we’re going to be prepared. We have to be ready. We have to be ready. When disaster strikes we have to be there to protect and also help people recover,” Biden said.

FEMA will provide $1 billion in 2021 — double the amount last year — for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, and a portion of that will target disadvantaged communities, according to the White House.

The $1 billion will be directed to communities, states and tribal governments for “pre-disaster mitigation resources to prepare for extreme weather events and other disasters,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

The administration will also tap NASA to develop “next generation climate data systems” to track the impact of climate change via its Earth System Observatory.

The announcement was first reported by the Washington Post.

The funding and actions are part of Biden’s ongoing efforts toward addressing climate change, a top administration priority that the President views as paramount to national security. Last month, Biden hosted world leaders for a virtual summit on climate. He committed the US to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% below its 2005 levels by 2030. Biden has also rejoined the Paris climate agreement after his predecessor exited the accords.

“As climate change threatens to bring more extreme events like increased floods, sea level rise, and intensifying droughts and wildfires, it is our responsibility to better prepare and support communities, families, and businesses before disaster — not just after,” the White House fact sheet said.

It continued, “This includes investing in climate research to improve our understanding of these extreme weather events and our decision making on climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. It also means ensuring that communities have the resources they need to build resilience prior to these crises.”

Biden will receive a briefing on the Atlantic Hurricane Outlook and other preparedness efforts Monday afternoon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, “is anticipating another above-normal hurricane season this year” in its annual outlook, the White House said.

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