President Barack Obama addressed the importance of infrastructure in remarks on Wednesday July 16, as he tied the issue to climate change adaptation.
“Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America that we need to stay competitive in this 21st-century economy,” he said, speaking at the final meeting of the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that he created last year. “That means that we should see this as an opportunity to do what we should be doing anyway, and that’s modernizing our infrastructure, modernizing our roads, modernizing our bridges, power grids, our transit systems, and making sure that they’re more resilient. That’s going to be good for commerce and it’s obviously going to be good for communities.”
As such, Obama made infrastructure strengthening a “key part” of his Climate Action Plan, one in which tribes play a role. He announced a number of new steps, including strengthening seawalls, improving electrical grids and protecting water supplies.
Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota, and Reggie Joule, mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough in Alaska, were the tribal officials designated to serve on the 23-member task force.
Obama’s full remarks are in the video below.