Trump Killed Obama’s Flood Protection Rule Two Weeks Ago
Whether or not you like President Donald Trump, the current administration has not been gifted with great timing.
The NFIP was established in 1968 to provide federally underwritten flood insurance to residents of states and communities that agree to control development in land the government deems prone to flooding.
The NFIP and its flood maps are imperfect, but they beat the pre-1968 alternative, which was basically uncontrolled development on U.S. floodplains.
Much of U.S. floodplain land might look like Houston does today, and Houston’s floodplains would be even worse.
The biggest problem with flood maps in the U.S. is that they are drawn as “lines in the sand”—implying that there is a flood risk on one side and none on the other.
In January 2015, Obama issued Executive Order 13690, which established the new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS).
The new FFRMS would have limited the construction of new structures in Houston in the path of floods like the ones we’re seeing from Harvey, and the standard was an important step toward greater flood resiliency nationwide.
The senators who signed the letter opposing Obama’s Executive Order 13690 were from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and Missouri.
But climate change seems to be ticking up the magnitude and frequency of storms, and uncontrolled development without a doubt puts more and more infrastructure at risk.
Three 500-year floods in Houston in the past three years, as some suggest, is beyond random bad luck.