Calling "extremes the new normal," U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, sought answers today as to whether the U.S. is prepared to face the new reality of extreme weather events that impact our nation's infrastructure, our environment, and our public health and safety. He participated in a full committee hearing to review the latest climate change science and local adaptation measures. His full opening statement is available here.
"It is time that we get serious about adapting our infrastructure and systems to these new conditions. From our transportation infrastructure to our water systems to our public utilities, major systems are being negatively impacted by heat and storms. We cannot tolerate the kind of disruptions that we had just a few weeks ago with the storms that left people without power for nearly a week," said Senator Cardin.
"This year, the United States has seen increased numbers of major, deadly storms that are devastating our communities. The extreme derecho storm system that devastated the Maryland-Virginia-DC area last month left thousands and thousands of people out of power for a week during a severe heat wave. This is a public health issue and a public safety issue," Senator Cardin added. "I believe that I have a responsibility to the people of Maryland and to the people of this country, to do all that I can to help prepare us for the consequences of climate change. We need to act now to protect our communities."
Senator Cardin has introduced the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act (S. 1669) to equip our communities to adapt their water systems to these changing conditions. According to a study by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the costs in dealing with this new recognized problem could approach $1 trillion through 2050. "Our water infrastructure, already in desperate need of repair, is also at risk from climate change impacts," Senator Cardin said of his legislation.