Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida in 2019. Credit: Pierre Markuse via Flickr
Congresswoman Kathy Castor of Tampa – chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis – said Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol it is urgent that the Senate pass the House-supported “Build Back Better” infrastructure plan that includes the nation’s first major legislation to curb climate change.
“We are not going to miss this chance to deliver,” Castor said at a press conference alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a dozen other members of Congress and representatives of the League of Conservation Voters working to secure Senate passage of the bill. The Build Back Better plan includes President Joe Biden’s historic climate agenda.
“The House has done its job. We’ve delivered on these investments,” Castor said. “We’ve drafted strong climate policies to meet the president’s goal of slashing emissions by half by 2030. We’ve ushered a robust bill through our committees to create millions of jobs and secure environmental justice.”
Castor, long a proponent of creating clean, green jobs to replace legacy jobs in polluting industries based on coal, oil and natural gas, said the price of failure is greater than the price of the infrastructure needed to slow down the degradation of the planet’s atmosphere.
“History is not going to judge us on the price tag,” she said. “History is going to judge us on our determination to do the right thing at the right time before it’s too late, and that time is now.”
Pelosi said lawmakers owe it to future generations to preserve the planet.
“For the children, we must build back better,” Pelosi said.
The plan is stalled in the Senate, where two of the 50 Democrats needed to pass the bill are withholding their support.
One is Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, whose district includes coal-mining interests.
West Virginia is among the four states most threatened by climate-induced flooding, according to a national risk analysis conducted by New York-based nonprofit research organization First Street Foundation.
Florida also is among the four, along with Louisiana and Kentucky.
Most at risk in Florida is Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys and part of the Florida Everglades. The top 10 most-threatened also include Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties on the southwest coast, Franklin, Wakulla, Gulf and Dixie counties in north Florida, and Miami-Dade and Broward counties in south Florida.
Scientists also cite Florida as being most at risk in the nation for worsening heat and hurricanes, resulting from climate change caused by greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.
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