President Trump has visited communities in North and South Carolina that were hard-hit by Hurricane Florence. Trump’s visit comes as the Carolinas continue to reel from deaths and destruction caused by Florence, and just before the one-year anniversary of the devastating landfall of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Data have shown that the damage leveled by Hurricane Florence was exacerbated by climate change, something Donald Trump has repeatedly denied exists and his administration has put forward an agenda that essentially accelerates the climate crisis, including the scientifically demonstrated impact of greenhouse gases released by burning dirty fuels such as coal, oil and fracked gas.
In response to Trump’s visit, Erin Carey, coastal programs coordinator for the Sierra Club’s North Carolina Chapter, released the following statement.
“Our thoughts are with the families throughout the Carolinas that have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods in the devastation of Hurricane Florence. Our priorities moving forward must be to ensure an equitable recovery and to do whatever we can to protect families and communities from future disasters.
“We appreciate that Donald Trump visited New Bern today, and the support that North Carolinians have had from federal agencies. But we call on him to go beyond immediate disaster relief and take action on climate change that is making storms like Florence increasingly destructive.
“We urge Trump to drop his efforts to repeal policies that combat carbon pollution, such as the Clean Power Plan and fuel economy standards for vehicles. We call on Trump to abandon his disastrous offshore drilling plans that threaten our coastline and coastal communities. We demand Trump end his efforts to roll back federal coal ash safeguards while flooded coal ash pits in Goldsboro and Wilmington threaten thousands of North Carolina families.
“Finally, we call on Donald Trump to restore the $10 million from FEMA that his office has directed instead to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and to cast aside his proposed massive budget cuts to relief agencies.
“We urge Trump to go beyond declarations and calls for help by taking action to tackle the climate crisis that is making natural disasters like Florence stronger and more damaging to our communities.”