• PerspectiveAcross the U.S., States Are Bracing for More Climate-Related Disasters

    Officials in states across the United States are calling for huge investments to mitigate the effects of wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, droughts, and other natural disasters made more devastating and frequent by climate change. Alex Brown writes that “Even states whose leaders don’t publicly acknowledge the existence of climate change, such as Texas and South Carolina, have applied for federal dollars citing ‘changing coastal conditions’ or ‘unpredictability’.”

  • Election securityUSC Kicks Off 50-State Election Cybersecurity Trainings

    Today, 28 January, the University of Southern California is kicking off its nonpartisan, independent, 50-state election cybersecurity training initiative in Maryland. Attendees will learn how to best protect their campaigns against misinformation and disinformation, hacking threats, and how to prepare and manage a potential crisis.

  • WildfiresClimate Change to Make Wildfires in Oregon's Blue Mountains More Frequent, Severe

    Under a warming climate, wildfires in Oregon’s southern Blue Mountains will become more frequent, more extensive and more severe, a new study finds. The researchers urge forest managers to continue to reduce fuel continuity through accelerated rates of thinning and prescribed burning to help reduce the extent and severity of future fires.

  • Preventable diseasesCalifornia's Stricter Vaccine Exemption Policy Improves Vaccination Rates

    California’s elimination, in 2016, of non-medical vaccine exemptions from school entry requirements was associated with an estimated increase in vaccination coverage at state and county levels, according to a new study.

  • FloodsIn Win for Harvey Victims, Federal Judge Finds Government Liable for Reservoir Flooding

    By Kiah Collier

    During Hurricane Harvey, thousands of properties behind two federally owned reservoirs flooded. On Tuesday, the United States Court of Federal Claims ruled that the government was liable for the flooding and that property owners are eligible for damages.

  • ResilienceResilience Guidebook for State of Idaho

    In times of growing cyber threats and severe weather, resilience – the ability to continue providing emergency services while damaged infrastructure is restored – has emerged as a growing concern among leaders at state and local levels.

  • PerspectiveAdvocates Push California City to Adopt Program That Pays People Who Don’t Shoot

    Fresno, California, has a homicide rate roughly twice the state average. In an effort to stem the violence, many advocates and Fresno residents have pushed city leaders to adopt an innovative violence interruption model called Advance Peace. J. Brian Charles writes that in addition in addition to provides resources like education and job training to those most at risk of being a perpetrator or victim of gun violence, the program has a unique and controversial feature: Participants receive a monthly stipend for staying out of trouble.

  • FloodsBolstering Florida’s Flood Resilience

    Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a $1,688,955 grant from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) for a pilot project to create a framework for their Watershed Planning Initiative. In 2017, Florida had 1.7 million flood insurance policies included in the Presidential Emergency Declaration. This is roughly 35 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program policies across the country and serves as an indicator of the impact of Hurricane Irma on the National Flood Insurance Program.

  • FloodsBolstering Florida’s Flood Resilience

    Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a $1,688,955 grant from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) for a pilot project to create a framework for their Watershed Planning Initiative. In 2017, Florida had 1.7 million flood insurance policies included in the Presidential Emergency Declaration. This is roughly 35 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program policies across the country and serves as an indicator of the impact of Hurricane Irma on the National Flood Insurance Program.

  • WildfiresCalifornians Unwilling to Subsidize Wildfire Prevention: Poll

    With blazes raging across the state, smoke impacting the Bay Area and the largest power utility shutting off electricity to avoid ignitions, California is experiencing another devastating fire season. As state, federal and local officials try to figure out what policies to implement to address the state’s wildfire crisis, a new poll reveals where the public stands on regulations and other public policy measures to prevent wildfires.

  • Chemical plantsPort Neches Plant Rocked by Multiple Explosions, Was Declared High Priority Violator by EPA

    By Kiah Collier

    The Southeast Texas chemical manufacturing plant, owned by Houston-based Texas Petroleum Chemical Group, has a long history of environmental violations and been out of compliance with federal clean air laws for years.

  • Perspective: Rising seasFlorida’s Building Code Doesn’t Take Sea Rise into Account. That Could Change This Year.

    The last time the Florida building code changed, in 2016, it required any new construction along the coast to elevate buildings by one foot. Three years later, this does not look to be enough. Experts call for going up yet another foot. Alex Harris notes that elevating the base of homes is a clear sign that political debates over climate change notwithstanding, “the people who plan and build in coastal Florida consider the threat of sea rise very real.”

  • EarthquakesFirst Statewide Testing of ShakeAlert in the United States

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Geological Survey and the State of California pressed the “go” button to allow the first-ever statewide public testing of the California Early Earthquake Warning System, which is powered by USGS’s earthquake early warning alerts, called ShakeAlerts. Alerts will be delivered by two independent methods, first over the federal Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system and second through the University of California Berkeley’s MyShake smartphone app.

  • Coastal challengesShould New York Build a Storm Surge Barrier?

    By Sarah Fecht

    It’s been seven years since Superstorm Sandy brought the city that never sleeps to a grinding halt. The Superstorm Sandy anniversary also marks seven years since New York started talking about building storm surge barriers to protect itself from future storms. At a recent event hosted by Columbia University, experts discussed a study that is evaluating the feasibility of building storm surge barriers around New York and New Jersey. The panelists also debated whether such a measure is a good idea.

  • PerspectiveNYC Bans Calling Someone an “Illegal Alien” out of Hate

    It’s now against the law in New York City to threaten someone with a call to immigration authorities or refer to them as an “illegal alien” when motivated by hate. The restrictions — violations of which are punishable by fines of up to $250,000 per offense — are outlined in a 29-page directive released by City Hall’s Commission on Human Rights. The Commission on Human Rights made clear that the directive is, at least in part, a rebuke of federal crackdowns on illegal immigration.