Building More Resilient Communities

With nearly 1500 mayors, council members, city staff and others coming to DC next week for the Congressional City Conference, it's a great opportunity to educate our members about federal issues affecting cities and launch lobbying efforts around our 2014 federal priorities. Among the priorities this year is supporting community resilience.

By raising awareness on the issue of climate change, the local impacts, and why and how local governments should think about resilience, NLC aims to spur additional action at both the federal and local levels. Specifically, NLC is asking Congress and the Administration to:

  • Pass the STRONG Act (Strengthening the Resiliency of our Nation on the Ground), to provide local governments with tools and information to develop and improve local infrastructure and better withstand extreme weather in the short- and long-term.
  • Support the President’s FY15 budget request of $1 billion to address community resilience.
  • Support the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (Shaheen-Portman), which will spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy, while also fostering job creation
  • Help local governments to better understand the effects of climate change and extreme weather on their communities, incorporate these effects into their adaptation and resilience planning, and provide financial and technical assistance for local climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Under this last item, NLC will be working with the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to provide feedback on federal policies and programs to support local efforts on adaptation and resilience. Climate adaptation and community resilience will be on center stage during the conference. Local officials will be able to connect with and learn from other communities, federal agencies, and others on how to address this important issue.

Building Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change

Monday, March 10 10:45 am – 12:15 pm Learn what is being done at the federal and local levels to prepare and protect communities in the face of climate change and extreme weather events, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure such as water and transportation systems. This session will also focus on gathering input from local elected officials to inform the work of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

“Resilient and Renewable” Leadership Luncheon

Monday, March 10 12:15-1:30 pm The “Resilient and Renewable” Leadership Luncheon provides an opportunity to celebrate and network with like-minded local officials who are leading the way in creating more resilient communities powered by clean energy. You will hear inspiring stories from mayors and local officials who have made a commitment to resiliency and clean energy and implemented model projects on the ground in their communities. This event is open to Signatories in the Resilient Communities for America campaign and other local elected officials registered for CCC.

Federal Agency Round Robin

Monday, March 10 1:45 – 3:15 pm Through a series of 20-minutes rotations, participants will be able to engage in small group discussions with Administration officials on various federal programs and opportunities that are available to cities and towns. Administration officials will be available to answer questions about federal resources, tools, grants, and programs of interest to local governments. Topic areas include, among others, Climate Change and Community Resilience; Sustainable Communities; and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Monday Afternoon General Session

Monday, March 10 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will participate in a panel discussion on to share their insights on the President’s Climate Action Plan, rebuilding efforts post Hurricane Sandy, and how their agencies will support innovation and local initiatives on climate change and community resilience.

NLC President Chris Coleman, Mayor, Saint Paul, Minnesota will moderate the panel. We hope you will be able to join us for these workshops and events at CCC. Be sure to stop by the advocacy booth located in the Conference Connection Lounge for information on each of NLC’s 2014 Federal Priorities.

About the author: Carolyn Berndt is the Principal Associate for Infrastructure and Sustainability on the NLC Federal Advocacy team. She leads NLC’s advocacy, regulatory, and policy efforts on energy and environmental issues, including water infrastructure and financing, air and water quality, climate change, and energy efficiency. Follow Carolyn on Twitter at @BerndtCarolyn.

Carolyn Berndt
Principal Associate for Infrastructure and Sustainability on the NLC Federal Advocacy team
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