Alexander Introduces Fair Treatment of Levees Act of 2011

February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, today introduced legislation to ensure the fair treatment of existing levees and flood control structures under the national flood insurance program.

Alexander’s bill says FEMA may not use the assumption that an existing levee or flood control structure does not exist to designate an area as having new flood hazards pursuant to issuance, revision, updating or any other purpose to implement changes in flood insurance maps. An exception will be granted in cases where no affected community notifies FEMA of objections to the Administrator’s hazard modeling processes within 90 days of enactment of this Act.

Alexander says this bill would “force FEMA to take into consideration the level of actual protection provided by an unaccredited structure. This legislation will give everybody involved-Members of Congress, FEMA, and constituents-more time to thoroughly investigate flooding risks and ensure those risks are being accurately assessed.”

FEMA’s remapping program has faced significant opposition in regions with unaccredited flood control structures. FEMA has an all-or-nothing approach to accounting for some levees on the flood maps, meaning that if a particular levee has not been accredited, FEMA will redraw the given flood map as if the levee does not exist at all.

Alexander says he believes, “This practice is controversial, imprecise, and will potentially force countless Americans to unnecessarily purchase costly flood insurance.

“Perhaps most importantly, this practice causes Americans to lose faith in the map modernization process itself, and a healthy, solvent flood insurance program relies on willing cooperation from our citizens and communities. Taxpayers all across the country simply cannot understand how the federal government can make a flood control structure, which they can see with their eyes and touch with their hands, just disappear.”

The full text of the bill is here.

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