EDM Wednesday Briefing: Clean Power Plan Delayed, Senate Vote on North Korean Sanctions, Winter Storms, Coastal Flooding
Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 10, 2016: The Clean Power Plan in response to the Paris Climate Change Agreement is delayed in a Supreme Court decision, while the Senate is set to vote on North Korean sanctions today, and residents wonder if coastal flooding is becoming the new normal.
- The Supreme Court issued a temporary freeze on President Obama's sweeping Clean Power Plan that required states to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The fight to question the plan's legality was led by 27 states and industry opponents that depend on fossil fuels and the economic activity generated by their production and use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), environmentalists, and other supporters indicate that delaying deadlines outlined in the plan will prevent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and further impact climate change.
- The new rule put forth by the Obama Administration was in response to the Paris Climate Change Agreement in December. A statement issued by the White House indicates that despite the ruling, states willing to cooperate can work with the EPA and move forward in taking aggressive action to significantly reduce carbon emissions. The new rule required states to submit a plan on emissions reduction by September of 2016, but if they needed more time, states could request an extension of up to two years. Plan supporters say upholding the rule is critical to the United States taking a global leading role in climate change and to fully uphold the Paris Agreement.
- In light of the recent North Korean satellite launch and in conjunction with suspected increasing nuclear weapons capabilities, the Senate is considering implementing stronger sanctions agains North Korea. Kentucky Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Pyongyang's actions "belligerent" and said the United States can no longer ignore it. The bill was already unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is scheduled for a vote by the Senate on Wednesday, February 10.
- South Korea has found a piece of what is believed to be a part of the long-range rocket that recently launched the North Korean satellite. Reports indicate that the North Korean satellite is passing over South Korea four times daily, but its functionality is being questioned. The satellite launch is depicted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) as being in violation of Security Council resolutions and indicates it is an international peace threat.
- In an effort to help prevent the Zika virus from spreading further, one global health non-profit based in Georgia is seeking financial donations to help in sending mosquito repellant, antibiotics, and acetaminophen to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras where they already have partner teams on the ground. The company, MAP International, indicates the supplies are being housed in Brunswick, Georgia, in a warehouse on the coast and are diminishing quickly.
- Further study of the Zika virus has scientists concerned that maybe they underestimated its dangers, citing a recent jump in birth defects in Brazil in direct relation to a sharp increase in the number of people infected with the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for citizens traveling out of the country, urging pregnant women to avoid countries with known Zika virus outbreaks.
- Winter storms are wreaking havoc on coastal towns, including the Jersey shore, Long Island, and New York City, as flooding continues to impact these locations. The East End Bridge and South Riverside Drive in Neptune Township, New Jersey were both impassable due to floodwaters and portions of Coney Island are also flooded.
- Some experts and area residents say the flooding is occurring more often due to intensified storms and higher tides due to rising sea levels, and wonder if this will be the new normal for areas where some are still rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. Flooding in these areas is caused by the storms, high tide, low pressure and winds - all of which caused canals to overflow and storm drains to back up.