February 1, 2013

RI Delegation Announces Federal Funding to Help State Prepare for Effects of Climate Change

Providence, RI – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced the award of $250,000 in federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help the state address and prepare for health effects associated with climate change.  The Rhode Island Department of Health will be able to use the funding to help the state and municipalities create an action plan and coordinate activities to investigate, prepare for, and respond to such effects.

According to the CDC, weather and climate have always had a key influence on human health – either through our direct exposure to the elements or by providing conditions that help or hinder the spread of disease.  Now, with climate change already bringing warmer temperatures to our state and nation – causing a rise in sea level and warmer ocean temperatures, and increased instances of extreme weather events – this influence will likely increase.

“We know that changing climates can seriously impact health and the spread of disease.  Flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy, as well as our state’s historic flood in 2010, highlight the importance of preparing for future storms to ensure access, for example, to clean water and shelter.  This federal funding will help Rhode Island health officials develop an effective strategy to prepare and plan for the health impact of extreme weather and climate change,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees CDC funding.

“Climate change is already hitting home in our Ocean State, with higher temperatures, higher seas, and more ‘bad air days’ forcing seniors and children indoors,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and a co-chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change.  “While we fight the barricade of special interests blocking action in Washington, this funding will help our state deal with climate change jeopardizing the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.”

“Too often the challenge of climate change results in a lack of response from our leaders, even as we see its damaging and wide-ranging effects on a daily basis,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, a founding member of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition. “I’m pleased that, in pursuing this funding, our state is demonstrating that we understand and are committed to efforts that will mitigate the impact of climate change on our residents to the greatest extent possible.”

“As President Obama emphasized during his Inaugural Address, it is critical that Republicans and Democrats across our country come together to address the very serious threats posed by global climate change – including negative health effects,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a member of Senator Whitehouse’s Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change.  “I am pleased to announce that these important funds will help Rhode Islanders promote public health efforts and fight the effects of climate change.”

“I am grateful to our Congressional delegation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for this funding,” Governor Lincoln Chafee said. “We have already seen climate change affect the wellbeing of Rhode Islanders, particularly with air quality and asthma issues. With that in mind, I am confident that the Rhode Island Department of Health will use these funds to better protect our citizens against the harmful effects of climate change.”

More information about the link between climate and health is available on the CDC’s website.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921