Federal Advocacy Update: Week of June 6, 2017

In this issue:

From the Podium: NLC City Advocate Spotlight

Ashley Smith, 202.626.3094

City advocates are the backbone of NLC’s federal advocacy efforts. By raising our collective voice, we can ensure that Congress and the Administration make local issues a priority. Throughout the summer, we’ll highlight advocacy efforts of city leaders who are engaging federal leaders and urging them to stand with cities.

  • Councilmember TJ Cawley from the Town of Morrisville, NC, advocated for climate action and for the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate agreement by sending letters of support to the White House and tweeting at the President, the Secretary of State and the EPA Administrator.
  • The League of California Cities highlighted the detrimental impact of the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget would have on domestic programs that have long benefitted California’s cities and its residents in a letter sent to their Senators and Representatives.

 

Federal Budget Webinar: How City Leaders Can Fight the Cuts

Ashley Smith, 202.626.3094

The Trump Administration released their full Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal last month, which includes $54 billion in domestic cuts that would eliminate dozens of successful programs, including CDBG, TIGER grants for transportation projects and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The proposal would have major consequences for every city in America - regardless of size, location or economic outlook.

Join NLC's Federal Advocacy team to learn more about the budget, the process and how you can join our fight to prevent these devastating cuts to cities from becoming a reality.

 

Date: June 13, 2017

Time: 2:00 PM EDT

Register for the webinar here.

 

FCC Updates Commenting Deadlines for New Broadband Infrastructure Proposals

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced new commenting deadlines for two items on circulation that claim to “streamline” state and local reviews of telecommunications infrastructure, such as fiber broadband pole attachments or wireless structures. The new deadline for both items, which were introduced at the FCC’s April Open Meeting, is now June 15, with reply comments due July 17.

Both the wireline and wireless present potential preemption concerns for cities, as covered in a previous update. NLC plans to file comments on both proposals, and affected cities should consider filing comments of their own as well.

 

Cities Condemn President Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Paris Agreement

Carolyn Berndt, 202.626.3101

Last week, President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The agreement, which was supported by NLC and is signed by nearly 200 nations, was created to limit greenhouse gas emissions and combat rising global temperatures. NLC led the largest delegation of city leaders at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where the climate agreement was adopted.

In response to the announcement, NLC President Matt Zone, Councilmember, Cleveland said, “President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement is a flagrant disregard for the safety and prosperity of American cities who are already dealing with the devastating effects of climate change…Cities will continue to advocate for ambitious policies that address this global crisis, and will lead by example at the local level.”

Hundreds of city leaders spoke out to denounce the decision, pledging to adopt, honor and uphold the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement by increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating a clean energy economy.

Ahead of the announcement, NLC engaged its grassroots advocates to lobby President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement, with more than 110 emails sent to officials at the White House. To date, more than 80 mayors have signed on to the Climate Mayors statement, more than 130 U.S. cities have signed on to the Compact of Mayors, and more than 70 city leaders have signed NLC’s climate action letter.  And on Monday, 125 cities joined a grand total of 1,219 governors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the U.S., or with significant operations in the U.S., declaring their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

NLC’s blog post, Five Things City Leaders Should Know About the Paris Withdrawal, details not only how cities are on the front lines of dealing with the impacts of climate change in their communities, but also how taking action now saves lives and taxpayer dollars, and boosts local economies.

Last month, NLC released its State of the Cities report analyzing mayoral state of the city speeches from 120 mayors nationwide. Twenty-four percent of mayors spoke at length about the environment and energy-related issues, and many cities made clear, specific and accountable goals for renewable energy use and reducing carbon emissions.

Having a federal partner in these efforts would make these commitments more achievable. NLC continues to urge the federal government to work with cities and take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions and to mitigate the effects of climate change. NLC urges the federal government to provide valuable research, data, tools, and funding to support local efforts to conduct vulnerability assessments, develop and implement long-term mitigation, adaptation and resiliency action plans, and monitor and report emissions.

 

What City Leaders Need to Know to Prepare for Wildfire Season

Yucel Ors, 202.626.3124

The National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs have teamed up to raise awareness of the current wildfire threats and share smart practices for preparing communities to face the coming fire season.

The 2017 wildfire season has begun in parts of the United States and it is predicted to grow as the year progresses.  Even with record snow fall in the west, the multi-year drought continues to create dry conditions that can contribute to catastrophic wildfire. And the areas that may be out of the drought now have the potential for significant growth of grasses and brush, increasing wildland fire potential. These variables are lining up for what could be another significant fire season, threatening large-scale losses to lives, communities, economies, landscapes, watersheds and habitat.

Every fire occurs within a city, borough, county or parish and residents turn to local governments for guidance on preparation, response and recovery from these and other disasters.

Do your emergency management and response agencies engage in pre-season planning?

Implement or review your Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) (PDF) to be sure it includes:

  • identifying wildland fire response capabilities
  • planning for evacuation and shelters for people and animals
  • establishing Joint Information Centers
  • identifying stakeholders for unified command
  • understanding and identifying values to be protected

Do your response agencies have mutual aid agreements for “closest response” resources?

This type of agreement among emergency response agencies allows responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries and may occur by request or on a continuing basis. They are critical to ensuring as many resources as possible are available to combat wildfire when it starts. 

Local government officials can ensure agreements are in place by requesting documentation from their city or county emergency services director, local fire chief, police chief or sheriff.

Do your residents have access to, and participate in, wildfire preparedness and education activities?

Are your emergency planning and response agencies conducting outreach to community members and promoting personal and community preparedness and risk reduction programs such as Ready, Set, Go! and Firewise?

Readying for disaster such as wildfire is a community-wide endeavor that requires careful planning and consistency on the part of first responders and residents alike. Ensuring that families are informed about evacuation routes and procedures, know how to prepare and maintain their property to best defend it against wildfire and have a personal action plan in place can improve the outcome of a wildland fire event.

Are the necessary processes in place to declare local emergencies and request assistance from state and federal resources?

Be sure all stakeholders are aware of their respective roles after an emergency declaration. Ensuring your city or county knows who to call for additional support when the response to a disaster exceeds local capabilities can save precious time. Many state emergency management agencies provide sample emergency declaration codes and may be able to provide technical assistance in updating your city or county’s code. Find the contact information for your state’s emergency management agency here.

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