Stefanik reintroduces bill to boost nation’s resilience to natural disasters

As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida on Friday, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) reintroduced legislation that would help local communities better plan for and recover from natural disasters through information sharing and more coordinated federal support.

The Strengthening the Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground (STRONG) Act would establish a national resiliency information clearinghouse. State and local officials would be able to use the clearinghouse to learn about and deploy disaster preparedness and response measures used in other parts of the country.

“This bipartisan legislation takes a proactive approach to disaster relief,” Stefanik said. “Natural disasters should be prepared for in advance to better ensure families, businesses and communities are ready when they strike. This common sense legislation will help protect communities across the country from these devastating events.”

The STRONG Act, which Stefanik introduced with bipartisan support from U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), would also establish a federal interagency working group to draft a unified strategic vision for resiliency across the federal government. The working group would also be tasked with assessing whether support for state, local and private resiliency efforts is adequate, and with ensuring effective communication of weather information across all levels of government.

Every dollar invested in disaster mitigation activities has been found to save an average of $4 in future recovery costs, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“The STRONG Act would better equip state and local leaders with the tools they need to plan ahead and make their communities more resilient,” Peters said. “Governors and mayors would be able to see what is working in other parts of the country and harness the expertise of the federal government to adapt those solutions to their communities. This will reduce recovery costs, get people back on their feet more quickly and in some cases save lives.”