Good Afternoon Chamber and Community Members:
We recently received an update from the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance. I am reaching out today to inform you about this new White House Executive Order that could have broad impacts on development in floodplains, flood insurance, and fundamentally shift us away from flood protection and towards risk management. Please read through to the bottom of this email, as there is a lot of information to share.
OVERVIEW - EXECUTIVE ORDER FROM WHITE HOUSE
On Friday, January 31st the White House released an Executive Order establishing Federal Flood Risk Management Standards. These standards represent a fundamental shift away from flood control and protection to a risk management strategy that directly and indirectly discourages development in coastal and riverine floodplains. The new standard is intended for all federal agencies in all actions and applies to any federally funded or approved projects. This Executive Order requires federal agencies to enforce the following new standards for federally funded or approved projects:
- Climate Informed Science Approach - A climate informed science approach that uses best available actionable data and methods that integrate current and future changes in flooding based on climate science (preferred standard)
- Freeboard Value Approach – Expanding the floodplain by requiring building an additional two feet above the FEMA map base flood elevation for non-critical actions and three feet for critical actions
- 500 Year Elevation Approach – The area subject to flooding by the 0.2% chance annual flood; requires building to 500 year standards
The new standards will be required to be updated every 5 years. This Executive Order moves well beyond the long accepted 100 year flood protection standard and will greatly increase the area in which federal programs and regulations apply, including the NFIP, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, it leaves interpretation up to the individual agencies, which will result in inconsistencies and confusion and make it very difficult for stakeholders to have input.
ACTION PLAN - PUBLIC COMMENT OPEN THRU APRIL 6
Within the next week, I will send draft public comments that I encourage each of you to modify and send on behalf of your organization. The more organizations sending comments in, the better.
I also strongly encourage you to reach out to your Senators and Congressional representatives to raise concerns with the standards.
Congressional Response to Date - Several Members of Congress have issued statements of concern and posed several questions to the Administration regarding the standards. Please see links below for further information from Congressional offices.
Cassidy, Cochran, Vitter, Cornyn, Isakson, Wicker, Blunt, Boozman Press For Answers On Flood Risk Executive Action
Vitter, Senators Question Legality of Flood Standard Executive Order
Cochran, Wicker Question Legality of Flood Standard Executive Order
Contact your Florida elected officials here!
LEARN MORE – FEMA HOLDS LISTENING SESSIONS
Please join FEMA and federal partners during a series of Listening Sessions on the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation. . These sessions provide the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and provide feedback on how federal agencies implement the Standard.
FEMA, on behalf of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), published a draft version of Implementing Guidelines that remains open for comment until April 6, 2015. Various locations have been identified across the nation to solicit feedback on the Implementation Guidelines. The MitFLG, a collection of federal agencies with programs and authorities designed to mitigate the impacts of disasters on communities, will accept written comments through the Federal Register process from those unable to attend the public meetings and will also host a virtual listening session in the coming months. An official Federal Register Notice will be published in the near future to officially announce the Listening Session schedule.
March 3, 2015 / 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (CT) / Iowa Water Conference Venue at Iowa State University Scheman Building / Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50011
March 5, 2015 / 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (CT) / Mississippi Recovery Office / 220 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, Mississippi 39531
March 11, 2015 / 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) / California Office of Emergency Services / 3650 Schriever Ave, Mather, CA 95655
March 11, 2015 / 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (ET) / Old Dominion University at Ted Constant Convocation Center / 4320 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23529
Due to space constraints of the facilities, seating may be limited. To reserve a seat in advance, please provide a request via email at least three days in advance with the contact information of the participant (including name, mailing address, and e-mail address), and the meeting to be attended to FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov and include the subject/attention line: Reservation Request for FFRMS. For anyone attending the meetings who is hearing or visually impaired, or who requires special assistance or accommodations, please also contact FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov.
On January 30, the President issued an Executive Order, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” Future federal investments in, and affecting floodplains, will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. This includes projects where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities, or to rebuild those that have been damaged. These projects make sure that buildings are constructed to withstand the impacts of flooding, improve the resilience of communities, and protect federal investments.
The Standard requires agencies to consider the best available, actionable science of both current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild in floodplains. On average, more people die annually from flooding than any other natural hazard. Further, the costs borne by the federal government are more than any other hazard. Water-related disasters account for approximately 85% of all disaster declarations.
The MitFLG will revise the draft Implementing Guidelines, based on input received through the Listening Sessions and comments, and provide recommendations to the Water Resources Council.
The Water Resources Council will, after considering the recommendations of the MitFLG, issue amended guidelines to federal agencies on the implementation of the Standard. Agencies will not issue or amend existing regulations or program procedures until the Water Resources Council issues amended guidelines that are informed by stakeholder input.
FEMA and the MitFLG look forward to your participation and input in the process as part of the work towards reducing flood risk, increasing resilience, cutting future economic losses, and potentially saving lives.
If you have any questions, please submit them to FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov
Please email me with questions or concerns and I will forward the information along to the Coalition.
Christine A. Ross, CCE, MBA, MS, IOM
President & CEO
Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
25071 Chamber of Commerce Drive
Bonita Springs, Florida 34135
Phone (239) 992-2943 | Fax (239) 992-5011
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