Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) applauded the passage of the bipartisan Flood Insurance Reform Act, legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and make important reforms to place the NFIP on a stronger financial footing.
Capps also noted the final bill does not include language that would have required FEMA to include all risk areas that are located behind levees or other flood control structures as a special flood hazard area. Such a designation would have subjected home and business owners in the Santa Maria area to mandatory purchase of flood insurance requirements and land use restrictions for local governments, even in areas with no history of flood losses.
Last year, Capps voted in favor of an amendment to remove the mandatory insurance purchase requirement from the House-version of the legislation.
This is more good news for Santa Maria Valley residents," said Capps. "This bipartisan legislation makes certain that homeowners at low flood risk and protected by levees, like the people of the Santa Maria Valley, will not have to buy costly additional annual federal flood insurance. The City of Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County, working with the Army Corps of Engineers, chose to put hard earned tax dollars into flood protection by repairing the Santa Maria River Levee and they shouldn't have to pay again for unnecessary flood insurance. That doesn't make sense and I was glad we were able to ensure through this bill to get rid of that additional burden on Santa Marians."
After the City, working so hard with Congresswoman Capps and others, finally succeeded in fixing the Santa Maria levee with the Corps, the imposition of flood insurance and building restrictions in areas newly protected would have made little sense. We appreciate the Congresswoman and Senator Feinstein fighting to keep residual risk areas like ours out of the floodplain," said Santa Maria Mayor Larry Lavagnino.