White House unveils extra $3 billion in local disaster funding

White House unveils extra $3 billion in local disaster funding
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The White House on Thursday announced more than $3 billion in extra funding for projects to increase state and local resilience to storms and other climate-related disasters.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Altria — FDA advisers endorse Pfizer vaccine for kids The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - White House to host lawmakers as negotiations over agenda hit critical stage MORE told reporters there would be more than $3.46 billion in new funding through the hazard mitigation grant program, which funds projects that mitigate disaster risks to people and property.

The Department of Homeland Security later confirmed that under the program, any state, tribe or territory that received a federal disaster declaration during the COVID-19 pandemic will have access to 4 percent of the disaster costs to put toward climate change resilience and mitigation efforts.

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“Through this funding, communities across the nation will have the critical resources needed to invest in adaptation and resilience, and take meaningful action to combat the effects of climate change,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasImmigration arrests inside US plummet: report Top officials turn over Twitter accounts to 'share the mic' with Black cybersecurity experts Federal officers detail abuse described by asylum seekers MORE said in a statement. “This funding will also help to ensure the advancement of equity in all communities, especially those that are disproportionately at risk from climate change impacts.”

"Climate change is our country’s biggest crisis. Our communities will continue to suffer from losses caused by extreme weather events unless we invest in mitigation efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change,” added Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell.

“This new funding is a tangible solution that we can implement today to help prevent against future risk disasters. It will allow us to provide direct aid to states, tribes, and territories to complete mitigation projects, strengthen our infrastructure, identify long term solutions to these hazards and ultimately make a real difference in our communities,” Criswell said.

Potential mitigation projects the funds could be used for include funding to protect against climate-related or environmental disasters such as wildfire, flooding, drought or coastal erosion, as well as adapting critical facilities or utilities to better withstand environmental risks, according to the statement.

The announcement comes as meteorologists are projecting an above-average hurricane season and a series of heatwaves and wildfires have devastated western states in recent months.