Biden announces new federal actions to address deadly heatwave across much of U.S.

 July 29, 2023

An oppressive and record-breaking heatwave has gripped much of the nation for the past several weeks, resulting in a surge of heat-related illnesses and deaths in various locales across the country, particularly in the West and Southwest, Texas, and the Southeast.

Now President Joe Biden and his administration are taking action to purportedly provide relief for Americans sweltering under record-high temperatures and reduce the number of deaths from the extreme heat, the Associated Press reported.

Of course, all of those actions entail spending millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and increased power and control for federal agencies, and quite predictably, it is all being blamed on the ephemeral "man-made climate change" instead of normal cyclical weather patterns or long-term natural heating and cooling trends.

New heat-related federal actions announced

The White House issued a "fact sheet" on Thursday to announce new actions that the Biden administration was taking to help protect communities and workers from the effects of this current and future heatwaves.

One of those actions involves the Labor Department sending out a first-ever "Hazard Alert" to inform employees and their employers of their "heat-related protections under federal law," including instructing employers on how to protect employees from heat-related illnesses and death, reminding workers of their rights and protections from retaliation, and highlighting the heat-related standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Part and parcel with that is authorization for the DoL and OSHA to "ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations, increasing inspections in high-risk industries," and to promulgate even more heat-related rules and standards for workplaces large and small alike.

Another action involves the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spending an additional $7 million from the so-called Inflation Reduction Act to try to improve weather forecasting and predictions to help give communities more advance notice of impending periods of excessive heat.

On top of that, the Interior Department has also been authorized to spend $152 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and Inflation Reduction Act to help expand water storage facilities in Western states like California, Colorado, and Washington, and to build new pipelines to deliver more water to certain drought-prone areas.

Predictably blaming Republicans

All of that is in addition to previous actions taken by the administration, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, to purportedly address heatwave concerns by making older buildings more energy efficient and establishing "cooling centers" that people can use to escape the high temperatures, according to the White House "fact sheet."

Another prior action taken was the establishment of the website, which serves as a sort of clearinghouse for heat-related information that people can use to reduce their risks of suffering heat-related illnesses or death.

Yet, no release from the Biden White House would be complete without an obligatory broad criticism of Republicans, and this "fact sheet" is no different, as it asserts that "many Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change, peddle conspiracy theories, and remain committed to repealing the President’s Inflation Reduction Act -- the biggest climate protection bill ever -- which would undermine the health and safety of their own constituents."

Unserious partisan response to a serious nonpartisan problem

To be sure, the persistent heatwave impacting much of the nation is a serious and decidedly nonpartisan matter, despite the Biden White House's incessant politicization of it and exploitation of unfortunate heat-related deaths for partisan purposes.

That said, empowering federal agencies to go after small business owners and shelling out tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on long-term or marginal projects with little or no immediate impact is not a serious response to the issue.

What Americans can and should do to reduce their risks is to be aware of and on the lookout for the warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses in themselves and others, try to spend the hottest parts of the day indoors with air conditioning or in the shade while outside, and to drink plenty of fluids to remain sufficiently hydrated.

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