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FEMA Revaluates Policy on Flood Maps

Posted by Benjamin Dona on Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 6:45pm.

FEMA Flood Hazard Zone MappingThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced it will re-evaluate its analysis of flood risk for communities without federal flood protection before it approves its new flood risk maps. FEMA and Congress are working on reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program. Updating flood hazard zone maps is part of that work.

The policy change affects communities across the United States. Many have complained that FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers have disregarded levee improvements paid for by local and state governments. In a letter to congressional members, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said "the agency would do a more detailed analysis of the flood risk of communities that are not protected by federally accredited levees."  Until now, FEMA regarded communities protected by unaccredited levees as being no better than those community's without levees whatsoever.

Fugate's letter also said the new analysis would "better reflect the flood risk" in areas without levees that meet federal standards. The administrator added that flood maps for such areas will not be completed before thenew analysis is done.

The new maps are extremely important as insurers base their rates on the risk data FEMA assigns to various flood zones. The policy shift should help residents in areas that face could face higher insurance rates.

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