[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 129 (Tuesday, August 2, 2022)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E818-E819]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                               speech of

                            HON. GWEN MOORE

                              of wisconsin

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, July 29, 2022

  Ms. MOORE of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of 
H.R. 5118, the Wildlife Response and Drought Resiliency Act. This much-
needed legislation will take steps to help protect communities from the 
devastating consequences of extreme weather events by providing crucial 
investment and response measures to help prevent and respond to 
wildfire, drought, and other climate related weather issues. These 
provisions include disaster assistance and environmental justice 
measures for communities disproportionately harmed by drought, 
wildfire, and other extreme weather events.
  Extreme weather exacerbated by the climate crisis is increasingly 
wreaking havoc throughout our country, putting lives in danger while 
causing tremendous damage on private property and public lands. 
Currently, much of the western United States is experiencing the driest 
conditions in over 1,200 years. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans 
live in areas of significant wildfire risk and more than 65 million 
experienced severe to exceptional drought this summer. Portions of our 
country are suffering under intense heat waves while in other places, 
too much rain in too short a period is causing flooding. My heart goes 
out to families of those who have died in flooding in Kentucky, a toll 
that stood at 30 at last report, with many still missing.
  The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act includes policies 
and resources to strengthen federal efforts to better understand, 
prevent, and respond to wildfires and other extreme weather events that 
are affecting our nation, including calling for a 10-year federal 
wildfire strategy and supporting our federal wildland firefighters and 
land managers who are on the frontlines in the fight to protect 
communities and lives. The bill would also create a National Wildland 
Fire Risk Reduction Program that would coordinate Federal efforts to 
reduce the loss of life and property from wildland fires especially in 
the face of a changing climate.
  The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act delivers critical 
drought relief for communities in several ways including authorizing 
investments in new water supply projects, promoting the delivery of 
reliable water to Native American communities, and supporting the 
development of technologies to enhance effective water management.
  I want to take a moment to highlight the bill's provisions on 
environmental justice because we know that some communities bear a 
disproportionate share of the burden of extreme weather events as they 
do environmental hazards such as poor air and water quality, lead 
exposure, and other environmental threats. For example, in Kentucky, 
some of the worse hit areas of the recent flooding are low-income. A 
recent EPA study found that people of color, regardless of region or 
income, are significantly more likely to live with exposure to air 
pollution. This leaves communities of color at a heightened risk of 
developing health complications like chronic bronchitis, reduced lung 
function, and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. A 
study by Clean Wisconsin found that people of color in my state are 
exposed to more ``dangerous particulate matter'' than the state 
  This bill would authorize Environmental Justice Community, State, and 
Tribal Grant Programs to empower local nonprofits, state governments, 
and tribal communities to identify and implement programs that reduce 
or eliminate disproportionately adverse human health or environmental 
impacts in specific communities. For example, the bill authorizes new 
grants to develop community-led partnerships that implement projects 
addressing climate justice needs, like solar and wind energy, home and 
building electrification and weatherization, and electric vehicle 
charging infrastructure.
  In addition, H.R. 5118 would establish a federal Environmental 
Justice Interagency Council to guide federal agencies actions to 
identify and respond to environmental inequities among communities of 
color, tribal communities, and low-income communities. The bill would 
also require federal agencies to more closely consider the needs of and 
engage with communities that bear a disproportionate share of 
environmental burdens including by preparing community impact reports 
assessing the potential consequences of a proposed federal action on 
these communities. The bill would also require early and meaningful 
community involvement in federal actions under the National 
Environmental Policy Act review process.
  I support passage of this bill and urge my colleagues to do so as 

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