Bill to Provide Stronger Protections for Flood-Prone Communities

July 11, 2019, 7:53 AM HST (Updated July 11, 2019, 7:53 AM)
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US Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), both members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, reintroduced the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act on Thursday, July 11, 2019. The bipartisan legislation would provide stronger protections for flood-prone communities.

The Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act provides the first step towards breaking the costly cycle of repeated flooding and rebuilding by providing communities with more tools to take proactive steps to reduce flood risk.

“Our bill builds on the momentum growing in states and cities to fight the new reality of accelerating sea level rise,” said Sen. Schatz. “We need to do all we can to prepare our communities and our economy to weather the storm.”

“Having grown up along South Carolina’s coast, I know all too well of the dangers and uneasiness that flooding can bring to families across our state and nation,” said Sen. Scott. “While our state is blessed with a pristine coastline, we face many issues that others don’t, like repeated flooding. Whenever I walk through the remains and aftermath of a hurricane, I’m reminded of how critical the National Flood Insurance Program is to the Palmetto State. Our legislation will help tackle the enormous debt the program is in while preparing communities to safeguard their homes and businesses before disaster strikes.”

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The Schatz-Scott bill would help to compel the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local governments to proactively reduce flood risk rather than simply rebuilding properties time and time again, putting unnecessary strain on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Additionally, the bill sets deadlines for FEMA to develop criteria to govern these repeat loss plans and determine any appropriate sanctions for failure to act, requires FEMA to report to Congress every two years on implementation progress, and authorizes FEMA to target special assistance to communities working to address these repeatedly flooded areas.

The Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act has the support of constituent, industry, consumer, and environmental organizations, including the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), National Wildlife Foundation, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Pew Charitable Trusts.

Click here to see full bill text.

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