U. S. to pay millions to move tribes threatened by climate change
The Biden administration will give three Native tribes $75 million to move away from coastal areas or rivers, one of the nation’s largest efforts to date to relocate communities that are facing an urgent threat from climate change.
“There are tribal communities at risk of being washed away,” President Biden said on Wednesday afternoon at a gathering of tribal leaders. The new funding, he said, will help tribes “move, in some cases, their entire communities back to safer ground.”
Relocating whole communities, sometimes called managed retreat, is perhaps the most aggressive form of adaptation to climate change. Despite the high initial cost, relocation may save money in the long run, by reducing the amount of damage from future disasters, along with the cost of rebuilding after those disasters.
The federal government needs to learn how to help relocate communities that want to move, said Bryan Newland, assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the Interior Department. The new funding will be a chance for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to learn to coordinate its relocation efforts with other agencies that work on disaster recovery, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.