Policy / Environmental Action & Resilience /
Policy

Environmental Action & Resilience

To ensure Georgia’s communities continue to thrive, for now and years to come, we must better protect our abundant environmental resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize, and leverage the economic benefits of advanced energy to secure a more resilient future. 

The state has a vested interest in supporting Georgians and their businesses by promoting the adoption of clean energy and low-carbon innovations. Likewise, in the wake of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Georgia is uniquely positioned to access funding and strategies to tackle a range of threats, upgrade infrastructure, safeguard natural resources and mitigate risks from natural disasters. Aggressive planning and targeted investment will ensure families and businesses benefit from new opportunities and Georgia enhances its resilience and environmental protections. 

I will ensure we are investing in our people and our businesses so all Georgians have access to jobs in rapidly growing fields and modernized infrastructure. I have a coordinated plan for addressing both immediate environmental threats and future challenges where possible.

Protect South Georgia and the Coast

  • Target resources to most vulnerable areas. Coastal Georgia and South Georgia face unique environmental challenges due to location and the array of industries dependent on its resilience. An Abrams’ administration will adopt an integrated plan that protects critical infrastructure, coastal industries, marine ecosystems, and low-income Georgians by investing in hazard mitigation and community resilience.
  • Establish a Coastal Resilience Response Plan and a South Georgia Readiness Response Plan. Georgia’s port facilities, water supply, wastewater treatment, road and rail networks and communications systems are all vulnerable to extreme weather.  Likewise, we must prepare for threats to agriculture, our military bases and low-lying areas. An Abrams’ administration will task Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) with coordinating programs that assess extreme weather and flood risks, conduct risk assessments that will reduce social and economic vulnerability, catalyze strategic investment and ensure equitable community resilience planning.
  • Establish state-sponsored evacuation shelters for extreme weather events. Leaving your home during times of crisis is difficult and sometimes impossible. As governor, I will: 
    • Create a network of safe havens and transportation options in times of weather crisis. 
  • Collaborate with local governments and existing infrastructure (community centers, entertainment facilities, sports facilities and schools) to establish a network of safe state-sponsored shelters and mobilization hubs ready to serve communities vulnerable to disaster. 
  • Work with the National Hurricane Center to identify coastal threats well in advance of danger. The governor’s timing in declaring an emergency or issuing evacuation warnings is critical for safety and FEMA funding. As governor, I will:
    • Ensure that GEMA is working closely with the National Hurricane Center to identify threats quickly.  
  • Ensure Georgians have as much notice as possible to prepare for and stay safe during natural disasters.
  • Work with school districts and senior and disabled-servicing facilities to ensure that their disaster preparedness plans are responsive to crisis. Learning loss increases significantly when children are uprooted from their homes. Districts already talk about the toll of annual storms including hurricanes and tornadoes on educational infrastructure, children’s learning time and overall resiliency. Likewise, our seniors and the disabled are often the most vulnerable and immobile in emergency events. As governor, I will:  
    • Instruct the Georgia Department of Education to work with GEMA to ensure districts have online learning resources and plans in case of disaster.  
  • Direct the Division of Aging Services to develop specific plans with GEMA to respond to disasters and prepare for evacuation or sheltering-in-place.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Invest in and support our agricultural families and businesses by developing strategies for long-term sustainability and productivity. By giving small, medium, and large agricultural and livestock businesses access to markets and protections from extreme weather, I will ensure the backbone of Georgia’s economy continues to thrive. Ensure rural revitalization and industry growth while also identifying opportunities for carbon sequestration and protection from extreme weather. 
  • Expand markets for local food by establishing food hub networks, farmers markets, and farm-to-school programs through public-private partnerships with area food banks to respond to changing food needs.  
  • Ensure rural investment and revitalization by giving farmers access to resources and funding through federal government programs. Task the Georgia Department of Agriculture with creating a resource hub for connecting farmers to new and existing federal agriculture programs including conservation incentives, cover crop initiatives, and crop-insurance options.
  • Give farmers access to resources and funding through the Georgia Green Development Bank. This resource can offer financing for innovations in soil conservation practices, carbon sequestration, diversifying crops and livestock, improving water-use efficiency and establishing programs for cover-crop cost shares.
  • Safeguard the health and preservation of Georgia’s natural resources. Georgia’s rich landscape of parks, forests, wetlands and rivers improves the quality of life of Georgians in numerous ways, from outdoor recreation to ensuring clean water and healthy ecosystems. Protect forests, parks, and aquifers from unsustainable growth practices and environmental contaminants. 
  • Ensure the long-term protection of clean water and thriving natural environments by working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Division, and other owners of forest land.

Coordinate a Statewide Response

  • Appoint a Chief Resilience Officer in the Office of the Governor. This individual will coordinate and lead environmental and resilience policy, resilience planning and investment across agencies. They will also coordinate with agencies including the Departments of Community Health, Public Health, Education, Natural Resources, Transportation, Human Services and the Environmental Protection Division to ensure a unified, comprehensive response. 
  • Establish a Georgia Resilience Revolving Fund. As governor, I will ensure financing for hazard mitigation programs, flood protection, and floodplain restoration through a newly established federal revolving fund administered by GEMA to provide loans for local resilience projects. 
  • Ensure Georgia’s Urban Areas Are Resilient. I will work with GEMA to ensure Georgia’s cities are better positioned to provide for urban residents’ health and well-being.
    • Offer local governments access to technical assistance for resilience planning.
    • Support access to federal funds available to local governments for resilience and adaptation planning.
    • Update current hazard mitigation plans to reflect the impact of climate change on city services, infrastructure and communities. 
  • Asses and Safeguard Natural Resources in Georgia. I will task a consortium of state agencies and stakeholders to assess Georgia’s natural resources and determine the appropriate next steps, including legislation, to safeguard safe drinking water, forest health, and outdoor recreation. 
  • Task GEMA with Convening a Resilience Commission. This group will be composed of interagency governmental officials, academic leaders, nonprofit and business partners to ensure accountability for emergency preparedness solutions. The resilience commission will:
    • Assess where we stand currently and build Georgia’s plan for the future. Develop a statewide resilience plan for the next ten years, focused on climate change, next steps, and key metrics for success.
    • Reimagine “critical facilities.” Include more non-traditional public safety and emergency response entities, such as libraries, health centers and recreation to improve resilience, especially in rural Georgia. 

Health and Safety

  • Strengthen the resilience of Georgia’s health system. Natural disasters and hazards resulting from climate change, such as heat-related illness and vector-borne diseases, will result in numerous risks to public health. Natural and man-made disasters also strain existing infrastructure. Expanding Medicaid and help Georgia be better able to meet disaster impacts effectively and reinforce Georgia’s public health infrastructure and be more readily responsive to crises. 
  • Grow Georgia’s Healthcare Preparedness Program. Leverage federal funding to ensure Georgia’s hospitals and healthcare facilities are able to anticipate and respond to health emergencies and work with the Georgia Department of Public Health to evaluate the pandemic response and address healthcare system vulnerabilities to enhance resilience.

Jobs and Infrastructure

  • Increase access to training and apprenticeships for advanced energy jobs. Georgia must act now to get federal funds and provide opportunities in growing job markets. Through free technical college, expanded apprenticeships and leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, an Abrams’ administration will train thousands of additional workers by 2030 to ensure we are reaching clean energy and energy efficiency goals. 
  • Ensure Georgia’s electric system is cheaper, more efficient and reliable. Support legislation to cap consumer-paid energy costs and ensure Georgians fully benefit from net-metering. An Abrams’ administration will aggressively draw down federal funds for electric grid modernization, including supporting research on strategies for grid modernization, tax credits and renewable integration. 
  • Leverage federal infrastructure funding to Create a Georgia Green Development Bank to diversify the Georgia energy system. Energy systems offering a diversified generation portfolio are better able to lower greenhouse gas emissions and withstand the negative impacts of extreme weather. By increasing clean energy generation, homes and businesses are better able to withstand shortfalls and disruptions. A green development bank would leverage public funds to mobilize private capital investment in clean energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainability investments. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes over $62 billion to develop a clean, equitable energy future, and the Inflation Reduction Act includes money for states to start their own Green Banks. Georgia must act now to ensure this money is used to provide opportunities in growing job markets and to enhance energy security and resilient power infrastructure. 
  • Expand state tax incentives for consumers. Increased environmental resilience is directly connected to reduced consumer demand, which we can incentivize by offering cost savings for energy efficiency, including more energy efficient cars, commercial buildings, and homes. I championed these incentives as a legislator, and I will work to expand their use in my administration.
  • Develop state energy efficiency targets and incentivize investment in energy efficiency and demand response programs. Georgia will ensure electricity providers work to reduce emissions, enhance capacity to meet increased demand during extreme weather, and minimize the impact on Georgia’s economy by working with partners to develop state energy efficiency targets and strategically facilitating investment of federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding, 
  • Upgrade aging transportation networks. Use funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to expand access to charging stations and other infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. 
    • Georgia will promote growth in the low-carbon transportation jobs sector while also lowering carbon emissions. 
    • Assess all modes of transportation, including high speed rail and risk mitigation strategies, through coordinated action by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and other partners resulting in more resilient infrastructure and the best use of federal funds.
Policy / Environmental Action & Resilience /
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