The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

December 11, 2013

Local leaders planning for climate effects

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to climate change, local officials have a message for Washington: Lead or get out of the way.

Local governments have long acted as first responders in emergencies and now are working to plan for sea level rise, floods, hurricanes and other extreme events associated with climate change.

As a presidential task force prepares for its first meeting Tuesday, local officials say they want and need federal support, but they worry that congressional gridlock and balky bureaucratic rules too often get in the way. Some say Washington needs to reconsider national policies that encourage people to build in beautiful but vulnerable areas.

“The first thing the feds should do is stop making things worse,” said Boulder, Colo., Mayor Matthew Appelbaum. Specifically, by subsidizing flood insurance in low-lying areas and paying billions to fight wildfires that destroy property near national forests, the federal government is encouraging development “in all the wrong places,” Appelbaum said at a recent forum on the impacts of climate change.

Federal assistance was crucial after a massive flood in Colorado in September destroyed nearly 2,000 homes, washed out hundreds of miles of roads and left many small mountain towns completely cut off. But even as cities and towns relied on the National Guard and other federal help in the storm’s immediate aftermath, local leaders said the disaster illustrated problems with a one-size-fits-all approach.

In Fort Collins, Colo., for instance, nearly three dozen federal agencies were involved in fixing a road destroyed by a mudslide.

“Half said, ‘No, it can’t be fixed,’” said Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat. “The other half said ‘go ahead.’ That’s a problem that needs to be resolved.”

Weitkunat, who serves on the presidential task force, said her message to federal officials is simple: “Get out of the way and we can rebound.”

Text Only
National News
  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • Courthouse violence unpredictable despite security

    When Utah's new federal courthouse opened last week, it came with security improvements that are becoming standard around the country: separate entrances and elevators for judges, defendants and the public; bullet-resistant glass and paneling; and vehicle barricades to keep car bombs at bay.

    Even the design of the courtrooms, with plenty of sunlight and space, can help calm witnesses or defendants in high-stress cases, some judges believe.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

    April 22, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 16-year-old boy scrambled over an airport fence, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a jetliner's wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation's airline fleet.

    The boy, who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., hopped out of the wheel well of a Boeing 767 on the Maui airport tarmac Sunday. Authorities found the high school student wandering the airport grounds with no identification. He was questioned by the FBI and taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was found to be unharmed.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Court to hear dispute over Internet TV broadcasts

    Thirty years after failing to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings, big media companies are back and now trying to rein in another technological innovation they say threatens their financial well-being.

    The battle has moved out of viewers' living rooms, where Americans once marveled at their ability to pop a cassette into a recorder and capture their favorite programs or the sporting event they wouldn't be home to see.

    April 21, 2014

  • USDA establishes rural business investment program

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related business in rural areas with cash needed to expand.

    Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in Cedar Rapids the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to increase business opportunities.

    April 21, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 21, 2014

AP Video
Facebook