January 20, 2022

Cassidy, Coons, Murkowski Unveil Landmark Bipartisan Climate Resilience Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (NCARS), a bipartisan bill to streamline the federal response to climate hazards that threaten human health and well-being, critical infrastructure, and natural systems. This bill follows Louisiana’s success in implementing the Coastal Master Plan.

“Louisiana loses a football field of land every hour due to coastal erosion and is under the greatest threat from sea level rise,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Creating a national strategy to rebuild coastlines, combat climate challenges, and support American energy will benefit our state and benefit the country.”

“It’s not enough to just combat further impacts of climate change; unfortunately, we also must face up to the consequences that man-made climate change has already caused,” said Senator Coons. “This bill sets out commonsense first steps so that the federal government can deliver sustainable, resilient, and equitable climate solutions in Delaware, our country’s lowest lying state, as well as for Americans in frontline communities across the nation.”

“Alaska communities and infrastructure are already being impacted by the impacts of climate change. Individual federal agencies have developed services and programs to help adapt to these hazards, but the current structure has made it challenging for communities to identify and successfully request assistance,” said Sen. Murkowski. “Our bipartisan legislation would direct the President to appoint a Chief Resilience Officer, who would oversee the development of a unified strategy for climate adaptation and resilience. The strategy would include recommendations to address outstanding gaps in federal resilience operations, streamline redundant efforts across agencies, and improve communication with vulnerable communities. This will be a positive step in optimizing the federal government’s ability to support adaptation efforts in Alaska and across the country.”

The National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act would:

  • Require the development of a whole-of-government National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy, which would ensure a unified vision for the U.S. government’s response to climate hazards and direct the swift implementation of equitable climate resilience solutions across federal agencies;
  • Authorize a Chief Resilience Officer in the White House to direct national resilience efforts and lead the development of the U.S. Resilience Strategy; and
  • Authorize interagency resilience Working Groups and a non-federal Partners Council with representatives from frontline communities to strengthen strategic development and facilitate communication between federal agencies and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.

Additional cosponsors include Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

A one-pager on the bill can be found here. Bill text is available here.