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Pro-democracy groups in West Virginia urging support for the "For the People Act;" the debate rages on over Michigan's proposed trans sports ban.


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A House bill pushing states on permit-to-purchase handgun laws aims to cut gun violence; HUD Secretary announces nearly $5B in rental assistance; and record numbers of asylum seekers turned back from U.S. are seeking sanctuary in Mexico.

Senate Report Calls for Natural Solutions to Battle Climate Change

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West Virginia National Guard members remove debris after a 2019 flood in Harman. Damaging floods have increased in the state along with the climate crisis. (U.S. National Guard)
West Virginia National Guard members remove debris after a 2019 flood in Harman. Damaging floods have increased in the state along with the climate crisis. (U.S. National Guard)
 By Diane Bernard, Public News Service - WV - Producer, Contact
August 31, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With wildfires out West and a hurricane fueled by high water temperatures in the South, Senate Democrats have released a new action plan for combating the climate crisis.

West Virginia hasn't been immune to climate-related troubles, with more floods and hotter temperatures. And the report from the U.S. Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis says funding projects that improve coastal resiliency for rivers, streams and oceans will help with flooding.

Myia Welsh, program director with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said it's important to consider natural climate solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

"In West Virginia, we are in a really great position, where we have a lot of trees and a lot of public lands," Welsh said. "And the impact of protecting and conserving those areas is that it reduces storm-water runoff, reduces air pollution, and all of those things are assets to fighting climate change."

She said green solutions for urban areas - like green roofs, open spaces, rain gardens and permeable pavement - can reduce the impacts of flooding. They can also reduce costs for storm-water management, which is a major problem in the Mountain State.

Walsh noted the report is timely as the nation faces interconnected public health, social justice, and climate crises. "The Case for Climate Action" also recommends solutions, including neighborhood micro-grids for maintaining electricity during an emergency, and smart-growth planning to reduce emissions by promoting walking and biking.

"The policy solutions laid out really ran the gamut, from labor and economics down to environmental solutions," she said. "So, there's a plethora of things to choose from here that our federal government can get to work on, should they choose to take that path."

When Congress returns next week, the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups are urging lawmakers to follow the new plan and fund its suggestions for climate-resiliency projects to build towards a clean-energy future.

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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