Biden to travel to northeastern flood zones as demand for climate action increases

As residents rushed to clean up and assess the damage from the catastrophic flash floods that swept through the northeast last week, Pre...

As residents rushed to clean up and assess the damage from the catastrophic flash floods that swept through the northeast last week, President Biden prepared to visit hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey, where it will be faced with a political ferment that grows with the climate. disaster.

The deadly deluge of the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which killed more than 45 people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, intensified battles that began in 2012 with Hurricane Sandy over how to slow change climate and protect communities. The flooding is already escalating debate over whether city, state and national leaders are doing enough – even those like Mr Biden who publicly advocate strong action.

Mr Biden’s trip comes as he and Democratic leaders fight for Congress to include measures to reduce global warming emissions in a $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill and increase funding for protect communities from disasters like last week’s.

Hours after the showers in the New York area, Mr Biden had them directly linked to his climate program. In a speech, he described the flooding as “another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here”, and called for more spending on upgrading power grids, sewers, water supply systems. , bridges and roads.

But some climate groups blame his administration for including major new funding to build and widen highways to the extent.

In New York and New Jersey, proponents of tougher climate measures hope the disaster will give new impetus to ambitious plans state and local climate laws and regulations and help overcome opposition to even more sweeping proposals, such as a city council bill to ban gas heaters and stoves in all new buildings.

Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, and Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, have pledged to step up the fight against climate change as state and city agencies deploy to help residents seek help and file insurance claims. Corn some residents still complain that no official had yet visited their block a few days after the floods.

Mrs. Hochul Sunday said on twitter that it allocated $ 378 million in federal disaster funding to protect New York residents from the effects of climate change and that it “would work with local governments to identify and correct vulnerabilities so that this level of damage does not happen again ”.

New York Democrat and Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said he seize the moment to build more weather protection into the budget and is committed to supporting state demand that Washington is speeding up damage assessments and federal aid. But some New York City residents insisted on more.

Dozens of protesters brandished life jackets – each replacing a New Yorker killed in the flooding – outside Mr Schumer’s Brooklyn home on Saturday, calling on him to support a $ 1.43 trillion proposal for a “Green New Deal” for public schools.

Climate and environmental justice groups have said they will also picket Biden. Their message: The deaths – at least 13 in New York and at least 27 in New Jersey – show that government action has been too hesitant, both to curb the burning of oil and gas that drives climate change, and to protect people from storms, fires and heat waves that become more frequent and intense as the planet warms.

Rachel Rivera, a resident of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn who has campaigned against a new pipeline there, said she wanted to push not only Mr. Biden but also local officials “to both stop climate pollution at the same time. the origin of all this and begin to finance the work to put us to safety.

“It’s neither,” she said. “It’s both. With every storm, they talk loudly, but then they do nothing.

Ms. Rivera joined New York Communities for Change, a group that works on environmental and public housing issues, after her roof collapsed in Hurricane Sandy. She said her teenage daughter always suffers from traumatic flashbacks when it rains.

Mr Biden will travel to New York’s Queens neighborhood, which was home to the majority of New York City residents who died in flooding last week. Most of them drowned when rainwater gushed into basement apartments that violated housing codes.

The president will also travel to Manville, New Jersey, which recorded 10 inches of rain in Wednesday’s downpour, forcing the city to rescue residents by helicopter and boat.

New York and New Jersey were both devastated by Hurricane Sandy nearly nine years ago, spurring new policies and grassroots movements to fight climate change. Ambitious infrastructure plans have been designed for the development of renewable energies and the protection of coasts such as dikes and dune restoration. Public pension funds have started to divest from fossil fuel companies and laws have been passed demanding sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

But many of these projects remain unfinished, and even more radical proposals have not been adopted. Supporters of more ambitious ideas, like the city’s bill to ban gas equipment in new homes, are now rallying for a new boost.

They include a growing number of locals legislators who has been elected on pledges to take bold action to reduce carbon emissions and address the problems and inequalities that may have worsened – in housing, transport, disaster preparedness and other areas – and which make more deadly extreme weather conditions.

Small issues that may not have been noticed before the floods are already attracting new attention. A demonstration was planned for Monday in Queens against Jenifer Rajkumar, a state lawmaker, over a parking project she supports inside Forest Park, one of the largest green spaces in the borough.

The official response to the latest disaster did not begin until Sunday. Police were going door to door looking for people still missing. State agencies have set up command centers in flooded neighborhoods to help people get information and help. The New York City Sanitation Department collected debris from the storm and said it would cancel a plan for garbage collectors to suppress Labor Day.

On the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, Linda Bowman, another member of New York Communities for Change, faced flooding for the second time; her house had also been flooded during Sandy.

“I need help,” she said. “Not just talking.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden to travel to northeastern flood zones as demand for climate action increases
Biden to travel to northeastern flood zones as demand for climate action increases
Newsrust - US Top News
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