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Municipal coffers could be hit hard by climate change

Low-income municipalities like Stowe, McKees Rocks and Neville Township are likely to face greater costs associated with climate change than more well-heeled municipalities, according to a new report from the Center of Climate Integrity.

By 2040, McKees Rocks is projected to require $21.7 million in increased spending, Stowe will need to increase spending to $23.9 million and Neville to $16.2 million, with the majority of spending to increase drainage capacity in local sewers, according to the July report.

“If municipal governments are facing annual spending increases of $1,000 per capita from costs related to climate change, that means climate costs would consume the entirety of the historical average annual municipal revenue growth,” the report said.

Kennedy Township would face a whopping $19.9 million with $17 million allocated for an increase in drainage capacity. Increases in rainfall associated with climate change would lead to more sewage system overflows, blockages and breaks.

The report pointed to a marked increase in extreme heat days above 90 degrees over the past several decades, with a projected annual increase to 37 annual extreme heat days by 2050.

The estimated cost to outfit Pennsylvania schools with updated HVAC systems was upwards of $1.2 billion dollars, according to the report.

The cost of maintaining bridges in the Pittsburgh area would be $8.5 million and the cost of landslides was estimated at more than $85 million.

The Center for Climate Integrity is a Washington-based non-profit group which advocates for suing oil companies to fund climate change reform.

“Dozens of states and communities, including the neighboring states of New Jersey, Delaware, and three Maryland municipalities, have filed lawsuits to recover the costs of climate damages from major oil companies, following the same legal framework as landmark tobacco and opioid lawsuits,” according to the report.

This story was compiled by Elizabeth Perry.


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