Local leaders planning for climate effects

By By MATTHEW DALY

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to climate change, local officials have a message for Washington: Lead or get out of the way.

Local governments have long acted as first responders in emergencies. Now they're working to plan for sea level rise, floods, hurricanes and other extreme events associated with climate change.

As a presidential task force prepares for its first meeting Tuesday, local officials say they want and need federal support. But they worry that congressional gridlock and bureaucracy too often get in the way.

Matthew Appelbaum is mayor of Boulder, Colo. He says the first thing the federal government should do is not make things worse. He says officials should reconsider policies that encourage rebuilding in flood zones and forested areas vulnerable to wildfires.

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