Mr. PETERS of California. I rise today as chair of the Climate Task Force in the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. June 1 marked the start of hurricane season, and this is a reminder that we must start planning ahead for extreme weather that we now face regularly, while also recognizing the cost of inaction.
Taxpayers spent $136 billion on disaster relief in just the last 2 years. However, FEMA estimates that every $1 spent on planning, preparation, and prevention yields the Nation $4 in future benefits. We are facing harsher droughts, deadlier heat waves, more severe storms, and, in San Diego, increasingly intense wildfires. In 2012 alone, wildfires burned 9.2 million acres in the United States, an area larger than the States of Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut combined.
There's no clear national plan for how to make our society more resilient in the face of extreme weather. This is unacceptable. We deserve better. Developing a planning structure for community resiliency is necessary. It will reduce Federal spending, save lives, and it's what Washington could do more of. We must act now.