This may put several governors who maintain that the Earth isn't warming due to human activities, or prefer to take no action, in a political bind. Their position may block their states' access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. In the last five years, the agency has awarded an average $1 billion a year in grants to states and territories for taking steps to mitigate the effects of disasters.Or to put it the correct way, a governor's first Amendment rights, and those of the state legislatures and voters are trumped by the Administration's believe in the man-made climate change hypothesis.
"If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn't want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics," said Becky Hammer, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council's water program. "The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state" because of his climate beliefs.
The policy doesn't affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood, or other disaster. Specifically, beginning in March 2016, states seeking preparedness money will have to assess how climate change threatens their communities. Governors will have to sign off on hazard-mitigation plans. While some states, including New York, have already started incorporating climate risks in their plans, most haven't because FEMA's 2008 guidelines didn't require it.So any governor who considers all the science instead of the politically expedient and unproven man-made climate change theory is basically screwed. Because forget climate change, this administration doesn't believe in the First Amendment.
"This could potentially become a major conflict for several Republican governors," said Barry Rabe, an expert on the politics of climate change at the University of Michigan. "We aren't just talking about coastal states."
Climate change affects droughts, rainfall, and tornado activity. Fracking is being linked to more earthquakes, he said. "This could affect state leaders across the country."
Among those who could face a difficult decision are New Jersey's Gov. Christie and fellow Republican Govs. Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Pat McCrory of North Carolina - all of whom have denied man-made climate change or refused to take action. The states they lead face immediate threats from climate change.