President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to increase the height of tall buildings and new buildings to help reduce the nation’s soaring deaths from heat-related illnesses.
The order, which takes effect Friday, expands the height limit for tall buildings in Washington and New York to 50 feet and for buildings of at least 25 feet above street level in New Jersey to 65 feet.
It also allows the building owner to choose to lower the height in any two adjacent buildings.
The orders are part of Trump’s efforts to build a “wall” of buildings to limit rising temperatures.
Trump, who took office in January, has been working to put a stop to rising temperatures that have been hitting many areas of the nation and are killing Americans.
In a statement, Trump said the order was aimed at helping prevent the spread of heat-sensing viruses, which include coronavirus and heat-induced lung cancer.
The order does not affect other parts of the country.
In New York, the buildings are designed to be taller than 20 feet above ground level and 50 feet above grade.
The buildings in New York City are already the tallest buildings in the nation.
The New York Department of Health said it would not enforce the height restrictions for the buildings.
The agency did not provide an estimate of the cost of enforcing the height requirements.
“We are taking the right steps to make sure that these buildings are more resilient to heat-driven illnesses,” said Daniel K. Lips, the health commissioner for New York State, in a statement.
“This is a very positive step and a step forward,” said Lisa C. Ting, an executive vice president at the nonprofit group National Association of Building Officials, in an interview.
The group said the buildings would have to be built with insulation and that they could not exceed 25 feet.
The new orders will be phased in and expanded by states as they implement the orders.
The federal government will provide $1.2 billion to cover the cost.
The money will go to public health agencies and public health labs, as well as state and local governments.
The states that will get the funding include Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (New York), North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.