Sending Office: Honorable Jamie Raskin
As communities in the Southeast are inundated by Hurricane Florence, Americans are still recovering from the devastating aftermath of Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Congress appropriated billions in the wake of these previous disasters to help communities and families rebuild. As we witness another terrifying demonstration that climate change is real and intensifies the destructive power of hurricanes, we also must
spend billions to help the affected communities get through the storms and rebuild.
While our government has responded in the aftermath of these severe weather events, we have historically failed to designate sufficient funds toward mitigation policies that would blunt their impact, even though we know every dollar invested in mitigation
results in four dollars saved in recovery costs. As we absorb the shock of Florence, now is the time to ensure that we are building more resilient communities to withstand future disasters.
The federal government has tackled this problem before. In 2015, the Obama Administration issued an Executive Order establishing the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), which was set up to reduce the risks posed by flooding to projects that receive
President Trump rescinded the FFRMS in August 2017 as part of a broader executive order on infrastructure. However, in the wake of devastating hurricanes in 2017, and after hearing from bipartisan voices in Congress and in the business community, the administration
signaled a willingness to revisit a flood standard. In February 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that states seeking to receive federal funding to recover from last year’s three major hurricanes would need to “take into
account” sea level rise when they build new structures in flood prone areas. While we applaud this action from HUD, we are convinced that a broader standard is still needed.
That’s why we’re introducing the Federal Flood Management Act. This bipartisan bicameral proposal provides federal agencies with three options to reduce the risks of flooding when investing in new infrastructure projects and federal
- Agencies can use the best available climate science to evaluate and reduce risk exposures;
- Agencies can require standard infrastructure to be built two feet above the 100-year floodplain, with critical infrastructure like hospitals elevated three feet; or
- Agencies can require infrastructure to be built to at least the 500-year floodplain.
This legislation ensures that federally owned or funding buildings, housing, and infrastructure – including roads and bridges – would be made more weather-resistant and resilient, thus protecting the communities themselves and our investment of federal
tax dollars. These common-sense proposals have been advanced by bipartisan voices in both the business and environmental communities.
The explosive power of devastating storms is increasing dramatically, and we must do more than merely react and rebuild. Please join us, and our Senate colleagues led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, to ensure that our people have an effective disaster risk management
strategy that is fiscally responsible and helps us build greater resiliency and capacity across America.
Very truly yours,
Jamie Raskin Carlos Curbelo Jimmy Panetta
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress
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