Tagged: Floods

July was a busy month for ocean-related legislation.

July’s Congressional Wrap Up

Nothing in COL’s legislative tracker was signed into law this month, but several items did pass out of committee, the House, or the Senate. Notably, the Save Our Seas Act of 2017 (S.756) passed the Senate with unanimous consent last week. The legislation (and its counterpart in the House (H.R. 2748)) reauthorizes and amends the Marine Debris Act (P.L. 109-332) “to promote international action to reduce marine debris.”

America's infrastructure projects received a D+ grade from The American Society of Civil Engineers. (Credits: FingerLakes.com)

America’s Water Infrastructure Projects: Backlogged And Sediment-Clogged

The nation’s water infrastructure is in a truly dire state; with a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers, it is time for an update. Last week, the House and Senate held hearings to address this issue. The House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment focused on the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Chairman Garret Graves (LA-6) said the Corps has an “absolutely critical mission,” which centers around building and maintaining infrastructure that bolsters the economy while integrating environmental sustainability. However, both sides of the aisle were concerned with the Corps’ backlog of unfinished projects and lack of implementation guidance for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (P.L.113-121) and the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.

Click to enlarge) Flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area is visible from Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005.

A Flood Of Flood Insurance Bills Approved By House Committee

After much debate, five flood insurance bills were approved (three with bipartisan support) on Wednesday afternoon at a markup held by the House Financial Services Committee. The bills are part of a package to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is $24.6 billion in debt and whose current authorization expires September 30. While Republicans and Democrats on the committee have a shared goal of reducing this debt, Democrats withheld support for some of the bills over concerns that the they would raise premiums for policyholders and leave citizens uninsured.

FEMA workers after a flood. (Credit: Wiki Commons)

Trump’s Emergency Manager Earns Support Of Climate Advocates

Brock Long was cleared by the Senate to become President Donald Trump’s emergency-management director Tuesday after gaining the support of one unlikely constituency: environmentalists. While climate advocates panned Trump’s selections to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department, they expressed optimism that Long, Alabama’s former emergency manager, would seek to protect Americans from the increased risks of hurricanes, flood and heat waves linked to global warming.

For NFIP policyholders, premiums rose after Superstorm Sandy. (Wikipedia)

A Stormy Debate Ensues Over Flood Insurance Reauthorization

After a recent series of severe storms over several years resulted in $24.6 billion of debt, Democrats and Republicans agreed that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could be improved before reauthorization. They disagreed, however, on how to make that happen.

Red snapper (credit: Wikipedia commons)

Red Snapper And Proposed Budget Cuts Snap Attention Of Senators During Appropriations Committee Hearing

The Department of Commerce (DOC) touches your life in more ways than you’d imagine, impacting areas from trade to economic development to weather forecasting. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science held a hearing to discuss the president’s budget recommendations for the DOC for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Senators from both sides of the aisle were concerned with the proposed steep cuts, which represent a 15.8 percent decrease from FY 2017 enacted levels and highlighted programs, including Sea Grant, that have tremendous returns on investment for their states.

FEMA's Technical Mapping Advisory Council makes recommendations on flood maps. (Credit: Walter Jennings/Wikipedia)

Committee Picks Up Flood Insurance Reauthorization

If there was one thing Republicans and Democrats easily agreed on this week, it’s that being $24.6 billion in debt is no way to operate. In a hearing preparing for the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, legislators on the House Financial Services Committee proposed changes to the program to help it gain sounder financial ground.

(Click to enlarge) D.C. streets during the snowstorm.

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

When a snowstorm closed airports across the northeast last week, two congressmen stranded in Texas devised a creative travel scheme, opting for a cross-country road trip to D.C. instead of waiting for airports to reopen. While their adventure received significant attention, the subject of natural disasters was also receiving attention in several congressional hearings. In the House and Senate, hearings focused specifically on flood insurance, and members of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing to discuss the future of the National Preparedness System (NPS).

(Click to enlarge) (Photo credit: Allison Hays)

FEMA Flood Insurance Program Underwater

Ninety percent of natural disasters in the United States involve a flood. Want to check if your home’s location is in a high-risk flood zone? Thanks to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can. NFIP, which is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), identifies and maps flood risks, provides flood insurance for 5.1 million policyholders, and runs programs to incentivize flood risk reduction.

Hurricane Rita in 2005 was a category 5. (Credit: Wikimedia)

Shelter From The Storm

With a dramatic reversal of environmental concerns on the West Coast from drought to flooding this winter, members of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a timely hearing to discuss flood insurance reform, specifically the reauthorization and reformation of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is due for reauthorization this fall. Flooding is the most frequent and expensive disaster in the U.S., and a delay in reauthorizing NFIP could disrupt property sales in high-risk areas where flood insurance is required.