Climate Change and Infrastructure

Join the Idaho Falls Progressives at 9 am each Tuesday in the north lobby of 410 Memorial Drive for our weekly visit.

Our nation is being put at increased risk from the effects of climate change on our utility infrastructure. Our electrical grid, our potable drinking water availability, our wastewater treatment facilities, our natural gas and oil pipelines, and our very way of life and commerce are at risk from inaction on a national scale without immediate changes in our domestic energy policy.

It’s not just a regional or local phenomena, the ever increasing effects of climate change are exposing weaknesses in the maintenance and repair of essential utility distribution systems that everyone, corporate, public and private citizens alike are negatively impacted by. The rolling multiple day long power outages in northern California last week may seem trivial to you, but the fact that Pacific Gas and Electric resorted to such extreme measures ought to be the wake-up call to action on a national scale. When schools, gas stations, banks, grocery stores and clinics close due to power outages everyone suffers. Real people suffer real consequences without power for lifesaving medical equipment and transportation to advanced care. Without electricity, cities lose access to drinking water and sewage disposal, and the longer the power outage the worse the problems can be.

Public Utilities Commissions in the various states and localities do not possess sufficient power to demand increased maintenance, repair and strengthening of our utilities. Our economic prosperity and wellbeing depend upon reliable, well thought out policies to strengthen out utility grids and enhance our interconnectedness with utility systems throughout our nation. Devoting time and funding to further research and implementation of science based policies to reduce the effects of climate change that begins at the national level will benefit all people and businesses because we are now all in this together.

This is a link to a 2016 publication from our Department of Energy outlining the risks and harms of climate change unless assessments and changes are made to our electrical grid, and I urge you to read it and move to strengthen all our utilities and do what is possible to reduce the effects of climate change on a national scale.