Los Angeles County and the cities of Malibu and Loma Linda were awarded $50,000 grants by Southern California Gas Co. to support local efforts to prepare for climate change risks such as wildfires, drought, sea level rise and flooding, the utility announced Thursday.
“Collaboration between energy providers and local governments will be critical to fight climate change, prepare for its impacts, and to ensure that our collective planning efforts deliver diverse and affordable clean energy options for families and businesses,” said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas’ chief environmental officer and vice president of strategy and engagement.
The winning applications were selected from across Southern and Central California by an advisory panel of planning and sustainability experts from the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, Climate Resolve, and the American Planning Association’s California Chapter.
According to a SoCalGas statement, recipients were judged based on their proposal’s emphasis on “collaboration among various agencies; addressing vulnerabilities in disadvantaged communities; and benefits beyond resiliency, such as to public health, air quality, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and the economy.”
“Cities and agencies across our region understand the immediacy of the need to plan their responses to climate change,” said Ashley Atkinson, Los Angeles section director for the American Planning Association. “The support of this program enables them to engage in necessary resilience planning and create stronger Southern California communities.”
Amy J. Bodek, Los Angeles County’s director of regional planning, said the grant will support efforts to help the county’s “unincorporated area communities adapt and develop resiliency in the face of climate change.”
“The county’s Department of Regional Planning will use the grant to prepare an Adaptive Capacity Assessment, which will create adaptation strategies for the 2,600 square miles of unincorporated Los Angeles County, as well as for county department operations,” she said.
Malibu will use its grant to create a “Community Resilience and Adaptation Plan” that will be integrated into the safety element of the city’s General Plan.
“The City of Malibu’s mountains-meet-the-sea landscape is especially vulnerable to extreme weather events and climate change,” said Shea Cunningham, Malibu’s environmental programs coordinator. “This grant award provides the city with a critical jumpstart to craft an actionable resilience and climate adaptation plan to help protect the community.”
Malibu Mayor Karen Farrer said the City Council “recognizes we are in a state of climate emergency, and we must take positive steps toward reducing the impacts of climate change on the city of Malibu’s population and infrastructure. We sincerely appreciate the support of SoCalGas to create a comprehensive plan to become a more resilient community.”
Loma Linda will use its grant to update its local hazard mitigation plan, as well as the safety element of its General Plan. The grant will also make the San Bernardino County city eligible for federal hazard mitigation grants which require matching funds from local sources.
SoCalGas’ Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Planning Grant program is funded by its shareholders and does not impact natural gas bills, according to the utility, which serves 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California.
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