Auditor says climate change inaction driving taxpayer costs

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania’s auditor general is calling on state officials and lawmakers to take a proactive approach in dealing with climate change.

The auditor general’s office on Wednesday released a special report entitled “Climate Crisis: The Rising Cost of Inaction.”

The report says severe weather is costing Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of dollars every year, including $261 million in 2018. Nearly half of that amount, $125.7 million, was in infrastructure damage caused by record-breaking floods and landslides.​

The report includes nine recommendations, including improved coordination among the Department of Environmental Protection, state and local leaders, prioritizing proactive planning and calling on the general assembly to create a resiliency fund that state agencies can draw from for natural disaster cleanup independent of the federal government.​

“If we invest that money now, we can save ourselves money down the line, improve public safety, and potentially save lives,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. “The longer we fail to act, the greater the risk to our environment, our economy, and our future.”​

House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe responded in a statement, calling the special report “alarmist.”​

“There was no actual auditing completed in this report. It all amounts to partisan pandering for the governor’s delusional climate change policy proposals,” Metcalfe said. “Other than poorly peddling the same unsettled Chicken Little fear-mongering regarding ‘man-made’ climate change, the only remotely tangible information that can be gleaned from the Auditor General’s special report is his intentionally unconcealed ambitions for higher political office.”​

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