White House Advisers Visit Knoxville, Focus on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email

White House Advisers Visit Knoxville, Focus on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Posted: 04/07/2014
April 7, 2014 - Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed two White House senior advisers to Knoxville today: David Agnew, Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Michael Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Mr. Agnew and Mr. Boots toured South Knoxville Waterfront Redevelopment and Urban Wilderness areas to see and hear about how conservation efforts have made the Knoxville community more resilient to impacts of climate change.

The South Waterfront's Redevelopment Plan emphasizes environmentally-friendly development practices, particularly brownfield remediation, stream buffer standards, responsible floodplain development, and improved stormwater infrastructure to reduce flooding and water pollution - both of which may become larger problems as climate changes.

The Urban Wilderness project encompasses 1,000 forested acres in Knoxville along the waterfront. This urban forest provides significant ecosystem benefits (clean water, wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, urban cooling) that will become increasingly valuable as East Tennessee's climate changes and population continues to grow.

Following the South Knoxville tour, Mr. Agnew, Mr. Boots and Mayor Rogero participated in a press conference and a Climate Resiliency Roundtable. In the roundtable, the trio engaged in discussion with local, community, scientific and business leaders on the President's Climate Action Plan and how to better prepare communities in East Tennessee for the impacts of climate change.

Those local leaders participating in the roundtable included: Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga; Mayor Tom Taylor of Maryville; Mayor Ralph McGill of Farragut; Dr. Tom Wilbanks - Corporate Fellow from ORNL; Mintha Roach - President and CEO of KUB; Mike Edwards - President and CEO of Knoxville Chamber; Michelle Walker - Director of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Office of Policy and Planning; Alan Jones - Manager of Tennessee Department of Transportation, Division of Long Range Planning; Dean Flener - Executive Officer of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency; Dr. Joe Hoagland - Vice President of Tennessee Valley Authority; Jeff Welch o- Director of Transportation Planning Organization; Dr. Ben Preston - Deputy Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Climate Change Science Institute; Dr. Matt Murray - Director of University of Tennessee, Baker Center for Public Policy; Dr. Mary English - Program Fellow of University of Tennessee, Baker Center for Public Policy; Brad Collett - Professor at University of Tennessee; Dr. Kelly Tanner - President of Genera Energy, Inc.; Greg Wathen - Coordinator of Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative/Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; Sierra Club - Jonathan Levenshus - Senior Campaign Representative of Sierra Club Tennessee Beyond Coal Campaign; Renee Hoyos - Executive Director of Tennessee Clean Water Network; Stephanie Kodish - Director of Clean Air Program, National Parks Conservation Association - Southeast Regional Office; Dr. Stephen Smith - Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Dr. Wolf Naegeli - President of the Board of Foundation for Global Sustainability.

Mr. Agnew and Mr. Boots also discussed and answered questions regarding the work of President Obama's State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Mayor Rogero is one of 26 members who serve on the Task Force.

For more information about the Task Force, please see https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/fact-sheet-executive-order-climate-preparedness.