Environmental groups sue US over flood management

12-21-2011 // Donna Gordon Blankinship - Associated Press

This excerpt is from the Associated Press

The National Wildlife Federation filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, asking a judge to stop the U.S. government from issuing any more flood insurance policies for new development in flood-prone areas around the Puget Sound until it changes its flood plain plans to consider the impact on endangered species like salmon and orcas.

The motion for a preliminary injunction is the latest move in a decades-long fight to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay more attention to endangered species, said Jan Hasselman, an attorney for Earthjustice, the environmental law firm that filed a motion in Seattle, on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation.

The environmental group won a lawsuit in 2004 that found FEMA did not create its flood plain management standards with the Endangered Species Act in mind. Hasselman said the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2008 issued a plan for changing the flood standards, setting various deadlines, the last of which recently passed.

"They're continuing to issue flood plain insurance for new developments in flood plains, incentivizing activities not just harmful to salmon, but harmful to people," Hasselman said. "Time's up."

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