President Barack Obama named Gov. Peter Shumlin to a nationwide task force on “Climate Preparedness and Resilience,” the White House announced today.
Shumlin is one of 26 officials from around the country named to the task force and one of eight governors. Other members of the task force include local officials and two tribal representatives.
According to the White House release, the task force members “will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities” to inform national policy decisions about climate change and natural disasters.
Shumlin’s major experience in this area came when Tropical Storm Irene caused severe flooding in Vermont and caused well over $200 million worth of damage in 2011.
The governor’s efforts after Irene included coordinating funding to rebuild roads and bridges as well as pressuring the Federal Emergency Management Agency for as much federal funding as possible.
The effects of Tropical Storm Irene linger, especially in the state’s mental health system, which was devastated after Irene rendered the Vermont State Hospital unusable.
Scientists have predicted more frequent and severe storm events as the climate gets warmer. In the release about the task force, Obama said that states and cities nationwide have already been forced to deal with problems potentially related to climate change, “and we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.”