U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today introduced legislation to provide financial relief to communities and local governments across the country which are currently updating their levee and flood protection systems. The Redundant Remapping Reform Act would allow levee owners who are planning, constructing or rehabilitating a levee nearing completion to postpone updating the protected area's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). By postponing the remapping of an area that is updating its levee system, residents of eligible communities could save hundreds of dollars each year in insurance premiums. American taxpayers would also save millions of dollars by eliminating redundant flood map updates of the same protected area.
"With fewer dollars flowing from Washington D.C., levee upkeep has become very much a local effort, and communities are digging deep to find the resources necessary to rehabilitate their aging flood protection systems," Sen. Moran said. "This commonsense legislation recognizes those communities who are making significant progress toward improving their levees and allows home and business owners in those flood plains to maintain current levels of flood protection until their flood protection system upgrades are complete."
"Sen. Moran's bill recognizes the importance of giving local communities adequate time to comply with federal requirements as they work to update aging levees," said Ron Fehr, City Manager of Manhattan, Kansas. "The Redundant Remapping Reform Act will fix the current flawed process which wastes taxpayer dollars, and give our businesses and residents confidence that their insurance costs won't rise due to arbitrary federal deadlines."
The maps used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess whether or not a home or business lies within a 100-year flood plain are in the process of being significantly updated. As a result, flood plains could change frequently as levee systems and mitigation efforts are updated. This ongoing project requires FEMA to map and remap the same area as flood plains change. The remapping process is costly for taxpayers and harmful to home and business owners whose insurance needs change with every new insurance map update.
As the new maps are completed, many citizens in Kansas and across the country may soon learn they are required to purchase flood insurance for the first time. The Redundant Remapping Reform Act allows levee owners to postpone flood map updates if the flood protection system update project can be completed within four years.