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Unknown program allows cities to use armored trucks in combating climate change
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Unknown program allows cities to use armored trucks in combating climate change

1033 program: A woman takes a photo near an armored military vehicle in Washington, DC.


Surfside Beach in South Carolina is located on the Climate change frontlines. Rising sea levels have left daunting prospects for the city’s heavily tourism-dependent economy. There are approximately 4,000 residents. The workforce comprises half of the total workforceIt is centered around the business of tourism: retail and food service. Entertainment is also a major focus. Five years ago Hurricane Matthew destroyed the main tourist attraction, The. Surfside Beach Pier. However, in a region with an 80 percent chanceAlthough the United States is often hit by a tropical hurricane each year, federal aid has not been sufficient to fund 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 U.S. Department of Defense’s “1033 Program.” The program, created in 1997, allows the U.S. 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 South Carolina reporting by WMBF News, 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. The investigation revealed that most departments do not use the equipment in severe weather events. 

1033 program: A woman takes a photo near an armored military vehicle in Washington, DC.
A woman poses for a photo next to an armored military vehicle near Washington, DC.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

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 has been used in the United States to dispel protests about pipeline projects and 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 I laughed at the chance 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 CorpsThe following are some 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 and others who support the program point out the hypocrisy, namely the use of equipment that has helped to fuel climate change and combat its effects. According to a study, the U.S. military is one among the most polluting countries in history. It emits more greenhouse gases than 140 countries combined. 2019 studyLancaster University researchers in England. The U.S. spends over $80 billion each year to position its military forces in oil-rich regions. “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: $770 billion to fuel its petroleum guzzling.” 

Although it may seem like it, Building 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 is not complete. Expected to increaseAfter the withdrawal from Afghanistan of American troops.


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