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Federal Aid is required for Climate Adaptation in this Coastal Town. Instead, it will receive a military truck. – Mother Jones
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Federal Aid is required for Climate Adaptation in this Coastal Town. Instead, it will receive a military truck. – Mother Jones

This Coastal Town Needs Federal Aid for Climate Adaptation. It Will Get a Military Truck Instead. – Mother Jones


Military vehicles in North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew 2016. Chuck Burton/AP

This story was first published in Grist This is part of the ClimYou can find more information atte Desk collaboration.

Surfside Beach in South Carolina is on our list Climate change frontlines. Rising sea levels have left daunting prospects for the city’s heavily tourism-dependent economy. With a population of approximately 4,000 people, Half of the workforce is centered on the business of tourism: retail, food service, and entertainment. Five years ago, Hurricane Matthew ravaged the main tourist attraction, the Surfside Beach Pier. However, in a region with an Chances of success: 80 percent of being hit by a tropical storm each year, little federal aid has appeared to fund more climate-resistant infrastructure.

Instead, the small coastal town’s sliver of federal support against climate change will now be coming in the form of a military armored vehicle.

Last week, the Surfside Beach town council unanimously passed a motion to participate in the US Department of Defense’s “1033 Program.” The program, created in 1997, allows the US military to transfer weapons, gear, and vehicles once used in foreign wars to the possession of local law enforcement agencies. Over the program’s existence, more than 8,000 local law enforcement agencies have requested $7 billion worth of excess military equipment, everything from assault rifles to respirators. 

According to Reporting by WMBF NewsSouth Carolina, police chief Kenneth Hofmann will use the program to procure several pieces of military equipment, including generators and armored tactical vehicles, such as “humvees” and “5-ton trucks” to “help the department when hurricanes come through.” Although the surplus program was not originally designed to mitigate the logistical problems created by severe weather events, municipalities across the country have increasingly named weather events as a justification for their inclusion in the program. 

Over the last few years, hundreds of local agencies have cited “catastrophic storms, blizzards, and especially floods to justify why they ought to receive an armored vehicle,” according to a recent HuffPost investigation. According to the investigation, most departments don’t use the equipment for severe weather conditions. 

In Johnson County, Iowa, for example, sheriffs have never used their military-grade “mine-resistant” armored vehicle to support residents during blizzards as it was originally procured for in 2014. Instead, it was used to disrupt Black Lives Matter protests or serve arrest warrants. 1033 equipment was used across the country to dispel protests against pipeline projects that cause global warming. Protests against Dakota Access Pipeline

Despite ample examples of misuse, last year Congress tweaked the 1033 Program to give priority access for armored vehicles to police and sheriffs’ departments that claimed to need them for disaster-related emergencies. A nationwide campaign led by the American Civil Liberties Union, which was launched in response to the 2020 racial uprisings, showed how local municipalities were treated. Making use of the equipment and turning communities into “war zones.” This fall, however, Congress We laughed at the opportunity to dramatically limit the program’s power. 

It’s unlikely that an armored vehicle will be used to suppress racial protests in Surfside Beach, which is 95 percent white. Many justice-oriented organisations are worried about the continued use by the military program to combat climate changes. Advocates understand the need to prepare cities for climate disasters, but many contend regions will be better equipped and more safely prepared if these functions were transferred from police departments to dedicated disaster response networks that don’t require people equipped with guns or tanks, as outlined in various federal proposals such as President Joe Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps or aspects of the Green New Deal

If anything, the 1033 program highlights the country’s weak protections against climate change, Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project, told Grist. “It shows that our funding priorities are all backward and it’s completely hobbling our ability to do anything about climate change,” she said. “When there are terrible hurricanes, when we need search and rescue operations, or when there are wildfires, we have military being deployed because we won’t fund other programs to deal with these things.”

Koshgarian, along with other advocates, point out the hypocrisy in the program, which includes the use of equipment that helped fuel climate changes to combat them. According to a report, the U.S. military has been one of the biggest polluters in history. They emit more greenhouse gasses per capita than 140 countries. 2019 studyLancaster University in England researchers. Not to mention, every year the U.S. spends more than $80 billion to position its military in oil-heavy regions to “protect” the global oil supply

“We’re constantly told we can’t afford a Green New Deal, we can’t afford the modest half-measures for climate change that are in the Build Back Better Act,” she said. “But the Pentagon just got a Budget of $770 billion to fuel its petroleum guzzling.”

It seems that it is the Create a Better Act – the most comprehensive climate change spending plan in U.S. history – is not totally dead yet, other parts of the country’s climate policies need more attention, too. The 1033 program can only be described as “only”. Expected to increase after the withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan.


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