Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree and a fellow Democrat in the House of Representatives have successfully added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which, if approved, will require the Secretary of Defense to take steps to ensure that U.S. military installations are prepared to deal with natural disasters caused by climate change.

Pingree and Charlie Crist, D-Florida, secured the amendment that requires the Department of Defense to account for future sea level rise and flooding risks when designing new military installations or improving existing ones. The House is scheduled to vote on passage of the NDAA on Friday.

The Department of Defense submitted a report to Congress in January that identified climate change as a major national security issue, with the potential to not only adversely affect military installations, but future military operations and missions as well.

In June, the General Accounting Office filed a climate resilience report with Congress that said while the Department of Defense owns real estate valued at $1.2 trillion, more than 30 percent of the 23 military installations it examined have not planned for extreme weather or climate change.

“Last month’s GAO report made it clear that rising sea levels have put unprecedented pressure on our military facilities. We must act now to prevent future catastrophes,” Pingree said in a statement issued by her office Thursday. “Our amendment to the NDAA will require the Secretary of Defense to be proactive and plan for extreme weather events because if anyone should be ready for the havoc climate change will bring, it should be our armed forces.”

The amendment will require the military to work with agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, which both track changing climate conditions, to incorporate flooding and sea level rise projections into their plans for building new military installations and fortifying existing installations.


“Climate change is causing seas to rise, stronger storms, and greater flooding, and our military bases are not talking these threats into account when planning for the future,” Crist said in the statement.

The amendment has received support from the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Interfaith Power and Light, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It’s not clear whether the amendment will receive support from Republican legislators.

President Trump has denied that climate change is real. At the Group of 20 nations summit last month in Osaka, Japan, Trump did not seem to grasp the difference between global warming and air pollution.

He also dismissed the worldwide push for climate action and denied that any aggressive response to curb the world’s greenhouse gas emissions was necessary, the Washington Post reported.

“We have the cleanest water we have ever had. We have the cleanest air we’ve ever had, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we’ve built up over a long period of time and what I’ve enhanced and revived,” Trump said during a news conference at the G-20 summit.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: