There Is No Climate Change in Indiana
Pence Climate Denier Posture Costs Hoosiers Millions in Federal Public Safety Aid
Washington, DC — Indiana forfeits millions of dollars in federal aid for hazard, flooding, and other disaster mitigation due to Governor Mike Pence’s disbelief in climate change, according to a review released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Hoosier State loses out in competition for several federal grants that prioritize applications rooted in climate-related response and resilience plans – plans which Indiana lacks.
Like much of the Midwest, Indiana suffers from more frequent and damaging bouts of extreme weather from climate change, which devastates crops, private property and public infrastructure. But because Gov. Pence takes the position that “Global warming is a myth,” his state agencies often lack authority to incorporate climate change into planning, despite sizeable federal financial incentives to do so.
Altogether, PEER calculates that Indiana’s climate policy has likely prevented the state from receiving more than $3 million in climate adaptation funding since 2014 from programs run by the –
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to adequately respond to natural disasters that require enhanced hazard mitigation plans and to fund state efforts to mitigate disaster impacts by reducing hazards and flood-vulnerable infrastructure from climate-induced extreme weather;
- U.S. Department of Transportation to increase the resilience of coastal (including the Great Lakes) highways and transportation infrastructure;
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for climate-related disease prevention; and
- National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to mitigate damages from coastal flooding.
“Indiana is putting ideology over public safety when it comes to climate change, but as author Philip K. Dick put it, ‘reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,’” stated PEER Staff Counsel Laura Dumais. “Every year, Indianans are losing billions of dollars from a spiraling increase in climate-related weather events. They need coherent plans to address these challenges, and in 2016, ‘bury head in sand’ as a planning strategy is simply not an option.”
For example, Indiana briefly lost all FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding because the state used Hazard Mitigation Assistance funds to purchase land in the 100-year floodplain for the purpose of constructing a baseball stadium in Kokomo. FEMA does not authorize federal funds to be used to construct facilities in the 100-year floodplain without an extensive review, and cancelled all that program’s funding in the state. FEMA eventually reinstated funding eligibility to the rest of the state after requiring Kokomo to bring the stadium project into flood mitigation compliance.
“If Governor Pence enters high national office, what would happen to federal efforts addressing climate-related sea-level rise, acidification of coastal waters, and extreme weather preparedness?” Dumais asked. “There is a danger that the United States would devolve from a global leader in affirmatively addressing climate change to a disruptive denialist.”
See federal funds Indiana is losing from –