GAO: Feds should improve their help to local governments on climate change

Congressional investigators say the federal government should do a better job helping local officials integrate the effects of climate change into their infrastructure planning.

A newly released Government Accountability Office report notes that stronger storms, sea-level rise and other effects of climate change threaten roads, bridges, wastewater plants and other infrastructure.

ADVERTISEMENT
The report says federal efforts are underway to help local governments prepare, but adds that they’re insufficient.

“[A] range of studies and local decision makers GAO interviewed cited the need for the federal government to improve local decision makers’ access to the best available information to use in infrastructure planning,” the report notes.

It offers recommendations around making information available to local decision-makers, working with professional associations on integrating climate change into design standards and more.

GAO also presses the White House to finalize planned “guidance” that spells out how federal agencies should consider the effects of climate change in environmental reviews of projects that need federal approval.