Protect our Homeland! But Not If…

…it displeases my political campaign donors.
Last week, I got an email from Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of Evangelical Environmental Network.  “What are we coming to?” he asked in apparent disbelief.  I wondered what the fuss was about.
Well it turns out that the oil & coal lobbyists were getting a payback for their millions in political contributions to Congress, in a way that openly undermines our homeland security.  Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  But at 1:40 in the afternoon, Texas Congressman John Carter introduced a little amendment:  None of the money to fund Homeland Security can be used for the DHS’s Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. 
Hmm.   Why would anyone do that?
Well, as you know, DHS has the job of protecting the American homeland from terrorist attacks and natural disasters.   It includes border protection, immigration, and FEMA – the emergency response agency that deals with floods, hurricanes tornadoes and the like. 
Every Federal agency – including all branches of the U.S. Armed Services – realizes that climate change is linked to cross-border migration, natural disasters, and even terrorism – all the stuff DHS worries about.  The Armed Services are planning for the flooding of coastal bases in places like Norfolk Naval, the Marines’ Camp Lejeune, and Eglin Air Force Base; FEMA is planning for the loss of much of Miami  and New Orleans to rising sea levels; the Army and Navy are planning our responses to the destabilization of countries – due to shortages of food and water – where the U.S. has vital security interests; and the INS is planning for mass migration pressures due to increased drought in Central America.
Not surprisingly, these and other agencies have coordinated these efforts through a single planning arm: the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.  Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 taught them the peril of failing to coordinate efforts.  If you don’t plan together, responses fail, and Americans die.
9/11 taught us the value of inter-agency coordination
This is so obviously a smart thing to do, you’d think that Rep. Carter’s “thou-shalt-not-plan” amendment would go down in flames, right?  Well golly.  233 Republicans and 9 Democrats thought that forbidding our homeland security to plan for climate change was a good idea.   In their public statements, they talked about cost-cutting.  But the amendment doesn’t cut a penny of spending: it just prohibits spending on anything that acknowledges what virtually everyone knows about the impact of the carbon economy on the earth and its people – including Americans here at home. (To see how your Congressional Representative voted, click here.)
In fact, only two Republicans – one from Washington and one from New York – voted in favor of permitting DHS to coordinate climate change plans with other agencies.  Brave men, no doubt, but only two!
Back to Rev. Hescox:  Like me, he was devastated that carbon money could cause so many to vote against core American values like the security of our homeland.  “With so many states and agencies preparing climate change emergency plans,” he said, “removing Homeland Security from climate change preparation looks like going to war without a coordinated plan of attack.”
Amen, brother.
Thanks for reading, and God bless you.
J. Elwood

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