Abraham praises repeal of Obama-era flood plain expansion plan
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, today praised the Trump administration for its decision to repeal the Obama-era Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), a complex set of regulations that would result in more expensive building costs in Louisiana.
“Louisiana flood victims are already struggling to rebuild to the current standards, and adding this new layer of problems to our state’s residents and business owners will only create more confusion and add higher costs. Plus, I remain concerned that eventually this regulation would be used as a factor to raise flood insurance rates. President Trump made the correct decision to repeal this onerous regulation that was written to make a political statement on climate change rather than for practicality and concern for average citizens who live and work in flood zones,” Dr. Abraham said.
Dr. Abraham has opposed implementation of the FFRMS for more than two years because the rule would have increased the cost of living and working in Louisiana. In June, he wrote a letter to the administration opposing the rule, and 41 other Representatives and Senators signed along with him. He also authored and passed legislation during the previous Congress to prevent the rule from taking effect.
The FFRMS scraps the 100-year base flood standard commonly used to determine flood risk and replaces it with new determinations that take into account future flooding from climate change. The new determinations would have expanded the amount of area subject to a floodplain and imposed stricter building standards on projects that receive any sort of federal assistance, resulting in higher costs of new transportation, housing, mitigation and flood protection projects, and it could have unforeseen consequences on flood insurance and other federal programs.
Additionally, the rule requires that some 30 federal agencies must adopt a new standard for base flood elevation based on the “best available climate science,” an ambiguous term that is impossible to quantify and will result in numerous agencies requiring different building standards, which adds confusion and costs to the rebuilding process.
Rather than institute new burdensome regulations to be absorbed by homeowners and business owners, Dr. Abraham believes more federal funding should be redirected to infrastructure enhancements and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so that residents of Louisiana know they are protected from flood waters.
“Those of us who represent Louisiana in Congress fight everyday for additional Corps funding and for infrastructure projects like the Comite River diversion that we know will keep flood water out of people’s homes. This is where the focus of flood prevention should be,” Dr. Abraham said.