1. Statement
  2. Environment & Energy

FCNL Welcomes the Bipartisan PREPARE Act

By Emily Wirzba, November 2, 2017

On November 2nd, the bipartisan PREPARE Act unanimously passed the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee, which was re-introduced in the 115th Congress by Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07).

This bill, H.R. 4177, seeks to help the federal government strategically address the many environmental and economic risks from extreme weather events.

Emily Wirzba, FCNL’s Legislative Representative for Sustainable Energy and Environment, commented “I’m pleased to see the re-introduction of the bipartisan PREPARE Act. As the recent hurricanes and wildfires have shown, extreme weather events are already causing extraordinary damage to communities across the country, especially lower-income communities and communities of color. The federal government needs to get serious about fostering resilience and helping communities better prepare for extreme weather events. This bill is an important first step.”

From 2010-2016, extreme weather events resulted in 422 presidential major disaster declarations, including 74 events that each inflicted at least $1 billion in damage. From these 74 events alone, there were a total of 1,646 fatalities and $316 billion in economic losses in 44 states.

While extreme weather events pose serious risks to agriculture, infrastructure, human health, ecosystems, and vulnerable communities, they also present a significant financial risk for the federal government. Additionally, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that there is no systematic method to distribute information to state and local governments, even though extreme weather events are one of the most pressing fiscal exposures the federal government faces.

The PREPARE Act would require the establishment of a federal interagency council whose purpose would be to provide recommendations on the best means of planning and preparing for extreme weather incidents. Additionally, the bill would provide state and local stakeholders with the best information and practices available to help them formulate emergency preparation plans tailored to their needs.

FCNL’s network has worked to bring bipartisan support to the PREPARE Act for several years. Hundreds of young adults lobbied to advance this legislation during FCNL’s 2015 Spring Lobby Weekend, and this bill was a focus for FCNL’s 2015-2016 inaugural Advocacy Corps class.

We are grateful to the bipartisan co-sponsors of this bill in the 115th Congress: Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).

Emily Wirzba

  • Legislative Representative, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Emily Wirzba leads FCNL’s lobbying work to achieve bipartisan recognition of climate change and action in Congress. Emily meets with members of Congress and their staff to promote FCNL's environmental priorities. She also works closely with FCNL's network across the country to organize constituents to lobby, write, and advocate for bipartisan environmental action in Congress. She currently serves as co-chair of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community's Energy and Ecology Working Group.