New FEMA Regulations Will Better Protect Americans from Flooding

WASHINGTON – A coalition of unlikely allies are supporting a proposed rule announced Friday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Organizations representing professional floodplain managers, insurance companies, fiscal conservatives and advocates, and environmental interests agree that the FEMA update will make the United States safer from the devastating impacts of flooding.

Once implemented, the regulation will require FEMA-funded projects to be built smarter and safer by accounting for the increasing likelihood of floods due to climate change. The rules will ensure infrastructure funded by FEMA grants are built to a higher level of resilience.

The announcement comes during a season of record storms throughout the United States – such as those devastating Louisiana and Maryland – causing catastrophic damages and loss of life.

Following is a statement from Rob Moore, senior water policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Sea level rise and the increased risk of flooding are the most recognizable impacts of climate change. Recent floods in Louisiana, Maryland, and West Virginia show how extreme weather and the resulting floods are disasters we need to prepare for. This policy recognizes the sort of flooding risk we are facing now and is likely to get worse in the decades to come.”

Following is a statement from Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America:
“We commend the Administration for its forward-looking leadership in flood protection. For too long and with too much reliance on post-event financing, the U.S. has facilitated development in flood disaster prone areas. The Administration is right to change that formula.” 

Following is a statement from R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow at R Street Institute:
“Disaster-related spending long has been a growing and unsustainable burden on U.S. taxpayers. Investing in risk mitigation for federal programs and facilities is an appropriate and cost-effective first step to curb that trajectory and should have the full-throated support of all taxpayer advocates.”

Following is a statement from Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense:
“Ensuring that taxpayer-funded investments are built to a standard that reduces future losses is common sense. Instead of continuing to rely on post-disaster spending, the country has to be forward thinking and help reduce risk to people, property and taxpayers. We applaud the Administration for moving forward with this initiative.”

Following is a statement from Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers:
“How many more extreme events that demonstrate flooding is increasing do we need to drive home the point that we must use informed science to protect against flood damage? The proposed approach in EO 13690 and by FEMA are practical and absolutely doable. Floodplain managers for decades have been working with freeboard and 500-year flood elevations. We know how to implement this.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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