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Urging FEMA to Rebuild Sustainably & Resiliently

May 2, 2024
solar panels

Building back smarter by using resilient infrastructure and renewable energy has been a top priority for the Sanibel and Captiva community following Hurricane Ian. SCCF recently signed a petition that urges the federal government to do the same when rebuilding communities hit by climate change-related natural disasters. 

The petition addressed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was led by the Center for Biological Diversity and signed by SCCF and 21 other organizations. It outlines new proposed regulations for FEMA centered on energy justice for ‘thriving, resilient communities.’ 

“Every dollar from these agencies that would have gone into rebuilding dirty fossil fuel infrastructure could be redirected toward sustainable and resilient solutions like community and rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and weatherization,” the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.

The proposed regulations in the petition would require FEMA to: 

  1. Prioritize the deployment of resilient distributed clean energy technologies, including but not limit to energy-efficiency and weatherization technologies, distributed rooftop and community-based solar and storage, and solar generators and micrograms over fossil fuel alternatives (except in addressing temporary emergency conditions)
  2. Expressly consider and proactively choose (where applicable) resilient community technologies over fossil fuel infrastructure. 

“The communities on our barrier islands are on the forefront of the climate crisis — We are already experiencing the impacts of warming oceans, rising tides, and stronger storms. It’s imperative that we implement adaptation solutions to make us resilient in the face of these pressures, but these efforts need to be paired with meaningful mitigation,” said SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis. “By prioritizing renewable energy for FEMA funds, the federal government can show that it is committed to helping our coastal communities protect their ecology and economies into the future.”

The petition will first go through the rule-making process, and there will be opportunity for public comment at a later date.


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