“We know that the storms are going to get more intense:” Gov. Cooper discusses critical infrastructure resiliency with national leaders

“We know that the storms are going to get more intense:” Gov. Cooper discusses critical infrastructure resiliency with national leaders
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina has seen more than its share of natural disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Governor Roy Cooper spoke with leaders from across the country Tuesday at the National Governor’s Association Energy and Critical Infrastructure Resilience State Learning Lab about the importance of having systems that can withstand climate change and storms.

“We know that the storms are going to get more intense,” said Cooper. “And that we have to be ready for them.”

Cooper says national leaders need to recognize the impacts of climate change and build a path towards the future, one he says can benefit the economy.

“The clean energy economy is coming,” he said. “And do we want to be in it or out of it? Do we want to put money in the pockets of everyday people?”

That change starts, Cooper says, with making improvements to the state’s most critical systems.

“We need to make investments now in order to be able to take those steps to harden our grid, to make sure our transportation is safer, and to protect people’s homes and businesses as much as we can.” said Cooper.

How does that happen? The governor believes states need to use the resources available to them to make a real difference.

“There is unprecedented funding from the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the American Rescue Plan that we can use to make our transportation system and our infrastructure more resilient,” Cooper said.

The issue creates a renewed focus on North Carolina’s strategic buyout program.

“Make sure that we relocate some homes and businesses in areas that can create green space to allow for stopping of flooding or catching floodwaters to protect the rest of the community,” said Cooper.

Governor Cooper issued an executive order this week to improve the resilience of state buildings against flooding.

The State’s department of administration will now spend the next year and a half updating the state’s uniform floodplain management policy.

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