The federal emergency response agency has failed to comply with a 2012 congressional mandate to incorporate rising sea levels and otherwise account for climate change in its flood maps, E&E reports.
The consequences of the Federal Emergency Management Agency failing to account for the changing and increasingly extreme climate could be devastating, as communities around the country rely on the flood maps to determine how and where to build, and which buildings must hold flood insurance. In addition to rising sea levels, climate change is linked to extreme and total precipitation increase, increased inland and coastal flooding risk, and increased storm surge.
Advocates and stakeholders want Congress to require, and fund NOAA to update all 22,000 of its flood maps every five to ten years. “Whether future conditions are hurricanes, sea-level rise or more intense inland storms, communities are going to be trying to incorporate that,” Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, told E&E.
“Otherwise, we’re just going to keep repeating this cycle of damage and rebuild.”