Cassidy, Scalise push for fair flood rate maps

Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Thursday to take into account all of a community’s flood protection features that could mitigate the risk of flooding when developing final flood insurance rate maps.

Failing to do so, the legislators said, would lead to flood insurance rates that don’t accurately reflect the risk of flooding that communities in southern Louisiana face.

“Residents of Jefferson Parish and other south Louisiana communities have a right to expect fair treatment from their government,” the congressmen said. “They have a right to expect that flood insurance rates will reflect the actual flood risk of their homes and businesses. It is critical that non-accredited levees, pumping stations, drainage improvements and other flood protection features be accounted for in all parishes in south Louisiana, not just a handful.”

The legislators urged FEMA to take steps to account for the width of drainage canals and water flow levels when finalizing FIRMs. All drainage improvements and pumping stations should also be taken into account, along with computer models, the lawmakers added.

“While Congress works to provide long-term solutions surrounding the challenges of the Nation Flood Insurance Program by balancing fiscal solvency with consumer affordability, it is imperative that FEMA take a holistic approach, properly accounting for all flood protection features that mitigate risk to communities when developing FIRMs,” the congressmen said.