Biden rolls out new efforts to combat extreme heat as records fall

Biden rolls out new efforts to combat extreme heat as records fall

US president says record-breaking heat 'hits our most vulnerable the hardest'

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden announced a series of new measures Thursday intended to help Americans cope as heat records continue to be smashed across the country.

The US is currently in the midst of heat advisories stretching from the southwest to the northeast with the National Weather Service warning that temperatures could reach as high as 110 Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) in various parts of the country during the day. There is no relief in sight for millions of Americans.

During a White House event attended by mayors of some of the hardest-hit cities, Biden emphasized the crushing heat hits the most vulnerable in society the hardest and is increasingly imperiling critical sectors of the economy.

"Extreme heat is already costing America $100 billion a year, and hits our most vulnerable the hardest. Seniors, people experiencing homelessness who have nowhere to turn, disadvantaged communities, are least able to recover from climate disasters," he said.

"And it's threatening farms, fisheries, forests that so many families depend on to make a living," he added.

Biden singled out employers who fail to protect workers from scorching temperatures, saying it is "outrageous" that some fail to provide employees "working all day in blazing heat" with water breaks.

The actions he rolled out include asking the Labor Department to issue a heat hazard alert, and step up enforcement of labor laws to protect workers. The alert is intended to remind employers that workers have federal heat-related protections, and the agency is slated to crack down on any violations.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will further invest $7 million from Biden's signature climate change law to improve weather forecasting capabilities.

The Interior Department will invest $152 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to expand water storage capabilities in drought-affected communities, particularly those in the states of California, Colorado and Washington.

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