Congress Votes for Much-Needed Reforms to National Flood Insurance Program

The National Wildlife Federation supports this positive step as a means to better protect people, property and the environment from flooding

07-12-2011 // Mekell Mikell, Ph.D.

With hurricane season well underway and the remnants of severe floods still troubling many river communities in the country’s midsection, it is difficult to ignore the risks out-of-control waters pose to all Americans.  Recently, the House of Representatives voted to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), advancing measures that will better protect people, property and the environment. H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011, removes incentives for risky developments in flood prone and environmentally sensitive areas, applies market-based rates to flood insurance to further mitigate risk and provides technical and financial assistance to help lessen damage and protect natural features.

Bonnet Carre opening the spillway

“Reforming the NFIP is certainly a step in the right direction. It will help put the program on firmer financial footing, and it will better protect people by using the best science to map flood zones,” said Joshua Saks, senior legislative representative for water resources campaigns at the National Wildlife Federation. “However, additional reforms are needed to make sure the program is fiscally and environmentally sound. Healthy wetlands and floodplains are the best flood protection money can buy. The NFIP needs to recognize the value of these natural defenses and create incentives for better land use planning and the mitigation of flood risks.”

The National Wildlife Federation supports reforms to the NFIP that will remove federal subsidies that encourage development of environmentally sensitive areas and better protect nature by ensuring flood maps take into account natural features, changes in weather, sea level and altered hydrology.

Withclimate change causing more intense storms, sea level rise and flooding all across the country, this reform measure could not be timelier. We look forward to working with the House, Senate and Administration to see a comprehensive reform bill signed into law this year.


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