President Biden reinforces his commitment to building a climate-resilient Florida, while Republicans feign concern, sabotaging climate action behind the curtain.
Today, President Biden is visiting Florida to emphasize his commitment to building a climate-resilient state, tackling the climate crisis, and protecting frontline communities like Latinos who face disproportionate impacts during and after extreme weather disasters. While Republican leadership on a local and federal level continues to stand in the way of climate action, feigning concern and surprise when climate disasters hit, the President understands that climate change exacerbates extreme weather events like hurricanes, causing hurricanes like Ian and Fiona to intensify rapidly and wreak devastating havoc in their wake. That is why he has delivered much-needed investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Law to help mitigate and better prepare our country for extreme weather events exacerbated by this crisis.
- The Biden Administration has been working day and night to prioritize life saving actions and ensure delivery of essential services and support to Hurricane Ian survivors.
- At the President’s direction, FEMA activated a medical support contract for ambulances and paratransit seats. All requested National Disaster Medical System assets arrived in Florida, including 400 ambulances, 15 bariatric paratransit ambulances, and four rotary aircraft to evacuate medically vulnerable individuals in nursing homes and other medical facilities as needed.
- Currently, the Biden-Harris Administration has more than 3,400 Federal response personnel working in Florida and the Southeast. An additional 6 Federal Search and Response teams have been deployed to help evacuate survivors and search for missing people.
- At the President’s direction, the Army Corps of Engineers has now deployed over 550 personnel to conduct engineering evaluations about the safety of bridges, roads, and other infrastructure and to assess emergency power needs. They are installing generators to support critical infrastructure, focusing on hospitals and long-term care facilities, water treatment and wastewater plants, and public safety organizations such as 911 call centers.
- Looking ahead to the urgent needs of hurricane survivors, the President has asked FEMA to focus on the housing needs of survivors as well as other immediate challenges they will face in recovering from Ian.
- Senator Rubio and other Republican leaders are going on a mediatour, feigning concern and calling for climate disaster aid while voting against the Inflation Reduction Law and opposing every major proposal to tackle climate change and improve climate resilience that comes across their desks.
- Senator Rubio, Senator Scott, and every Republican in the Senate and House voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in U.S. history in speeding the transition away from climate-warming fossil fuels.
- Senators Rubio and Scott voted against the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provided billions of dollars in funding to make communities more resilient to climate disasters like Hurricane Ian.
- On Thursday, Senator Scott voted against while Rubio skipped a vote in the Senate that included $18 billion in FEMA relief money intended for Hurricane Ian response, on-brand for a Senator who misses four times the average number of votes for a U.S. Senator.
- Just last Sunday, Senator Rubio told Dana Bash he would oppose Hurricane Ian relief if other Senators attempted to include things he deemed irrelevant.
- In 2012, Senator Rubio held up desperately needed aid for Hurricane Sandy over a political dispute.
- On a local level, Governor Ron De Santis prevented the state pension fund from taking climate change into account when it comes to making investment decisions.
- While Ron De Santis was a sitting member in Congress, he voted against hurricane relief for survivors of Hurricane Sandy.
- Hurricanes and extreme weather boosted by climate change endanger all Floridians, but Latinos in the state have fewer tools, information, and safeguards, leaving them disproportionately vulnerable during and after these events.
- Miami is the most vulnerable city in the United States to hurricanes, with a 16% chance of experiencing the impacts of a hurricane in any given year.
- The population of Miami is 72% Latino.
- Latinos make up 40% of the population in eight Florida cities—including Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Hollywood, Miami, Miami Gardens, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, and St. Petersburg—that will flood during future high tides.
- Climate gentrification caused by sea level rise may make parts of Miami unaffordable for communities of color.
- A 2014 report found Latinos are less likely to have homeowners insurance, making them “more vulnerable to their entire wealth being drained by a hurricane or other natural disaster.”
- Latinos are also three times as likely as white Americans to lack health insurance, leaving them especially vulnerable to health impacts from air pollution and natural disasters.
- Low-income and minority communities are more likely to live in poor-quality housing and not have the means to evacuate, rebuild, or relocate.
- Communities of color often suffer the most after an extreme weather event. Black and Latino residents, and those with lower incomes, reported the highest rates of property and income loss after a hurricane.
- Educational and information materials distributed to communities before and during a climate disaster are rarely available in Spanish, which endangers Latino immigrant families.
- Southern Florida — home to more than 2.4 million Latinos — faces some of the highest risks from rising sea levels and hurricane-driven flooding in the country. The Inflation Reduction Law, led by President biden, includes the following key investments that will help Floridians tackle this issue:
- $2.6 billion for coastal climate resilience programs to mitigate climate change and protect coastal communities.
- $3.3 billion investment in NOAA’s work to build a Climate-Ready Nation.
- Upgrades to affordable housing, including projects that boost resilience in the face of intensifying extreme weather. In Florida, tens of thousands of people live in affordable housing units that are eligible for upgrades like flood-proofing and storm resistance, as well as clean energy and electrification.