During a press conference on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the unilateral creation of new “climate action hubs” that will be placed in seven locations around the country.
“On the heels of passage of the farm bill, the administration will take executive action to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities combat climate change and adapt to extreme weather and other damage it causes,” a White House official said in an email ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.
The hubs will link a network of universities, nonprofits and Federal and State agencies to help further the President’s climate change agenda without legislative help.
“These climate action hubs are really part of the president’s climate action plan and its directive of us to actually act, not wait for Congress, not wait for laws to be passed, but to do it on our own,” Vilsack said at the White House.
According to the official, the new Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change are designed to address fires, invasive pests, floods and droughts that environmentalists deem products of climate change on a regional basis.
Asked why the hubs were created without Congressional input, Vilsack said that Administration officials feel it is time to do everything possible to address climate change without Congressional gridlock getting in the way.
“As the president has said repeatedly, if there is an opportunity to work with Congress, we will work with Congress, and we did,” Vilsack said. “We’ve been waiting a while for Congress to work on climate. Fair enough. There are multiple reasons why they haven’t. But in the meantime, we’re going to take action because 51 percent of the land mass of the United States is a lot of land. It’s over 1.2 billion acres of land.”
He added, “I think we’re trying to work with Congress when we can and when they can’t or won’t, we’re going to continue to act. That’s what I think the American public wants us to do.”
The hubs will be located in Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico. Sub-hubs will exist in Michigan, Puerto Rico and California.