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Reps. Wagner and Blumenauer Introduce Legislation to Prevent Repeated Community Flooding

Mar 11, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today introduced the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act. This bipartisan legislation would strengthen protections for flood-prone communities by encouraging them to plan for future disasters.

The Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act addresses the fiscally irresponsible cycle of repeated flooding and rebuilding of communities by taking proactive steps to reduce increased flood risks with federal resources. A version of this legislation passed the House in the 115th Congress as part of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act (H.R. 2874).

“Repeated flooding has devastated Missouri communities for too long.  I am proud to introduce this legislation that would help build more resilient communities and mitigate future flood damage to at-risk homes and businesses,” said Rep. Wagner.  “This important legislation prevents loss of life and property and helps local communities who have been greatly affected by flooding. No one wants to spend money to rebuild flood-prone properties, and this bill will ensure the necessary steps are taken to alleviate the effects of natural disasters.”

“All too common natural disasters are requiring us to take dynamic action to prevent communities from being devastated by the worst impacts of the growing climate crisis,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Floods are no exception, yet the National Flood Insurance Program actually incentivizes many communities to ignore this problem. This legislation would take a crucial step in the right direction by encouraging those who have experienced repeated flooding to plan for future disasters. Through these preventative steps, communities can actually protect their members from persistent flooding and relieve pressure on the federal government to bail out those neglecting their responsibilities.”

Background
Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), properties that have been flooded multiple times are consistently rebuilt without any additional plans to mitigate future flooding. These repetitive loss properties make up just one percent of those covered by the program, but result in up to 30 percent of all claims and have added up to more than $12 billion in costs to the federal government.

This bill incentivizes communities with a significant number of repetitive loss properties to proactively submit flood prevention plans to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a condition of their participation in the NFIP. Additionally, the bill sets deadlines for FEMA to develop criteria to govern these repeat loss plans and determine any appropriate actions for failure to act, requires FEMA to report to Congress every two years on implementation progress, and authorizes FEMA to target special assistance to communities working to address these repeatedly flooded areas.