Wagner seeks flood prevention plans from areas with repeat flooding risks, costs

Bipartisan legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) aims to stop the recurring federal fiscal cycle of rebuilding communities hard hit by repeated flooding by requiring such areas to proactively prepare against flood risks.  

“Repeated flooding has devastated Missouri communities for too long,” Rep. Wagner said. “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.”

Rep. Wagner on March 11 cosponsored the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act, H.R. 1797, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to strengthen protections for flood-prone communities across the country by encouraging them to plan for future disasters.

“This important legislation prevents loss of life and property and helps local communities who have been greatly affected by flooding,” the congresswoman said. “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.”

If enacted, H.R. 1797 would incentivize communities with a significant number of repetitive loss properties to submit flood prevention plans to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a condition of their participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Wagner’s office. 

Additionally, the measure would set deadlines for FEMA to develop criteria to govern these repeat loss plans and determine any appropriate actions for failure to act, the summary says, and would require FEMA to report to Congress every two years on implementation progress.

FEMA also would be authorized under the bill to target special assistance to communities working to address repeatedly flooded areas, according to the summary of H.R. 1797, which has been referred to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration.