Common Sense Flood Insurance Reforms Reversed

The Biggert-Waters Act in Congress moved the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, towards becoming more self-sufficient and more solvent.  In recent years the NFIP has gone $17 Billion in debt after Hurricane Katrina and more recently Sandy.  When NFIP is in debt, money is taken from the Treasury (all taxpayers) instead of having coastal dwellers (flood ins. ratepayers) actually pay for flooded private property.   Yes, passing Biggert-Waters meant you would have had  to pay more to insure your summer or primary home built in a flood or high hazard zone.

But wait, Congress reversed itself by passing another law essentially keeping NFIP in debt and keeping US taxpayers on the hook for flood costs.  Huffington Post article here by Elliot Negin.

Senate Delays National Flood Insurance Program’s Solvency

Th US Senate reversed itself on the Biggert-Waters Act, which would put the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, on a path to solvency, but it would also increase flood insurance premiums for many Americans.

The NFIP has been billions of dollars in the red (underwater), since 2005 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Biggert Waters was designed to fix that and make insurance premiums (payments) bring in as much as the program pays out in claims. NY Times take by Coral Davenport, January 30, 2014.

You just can’t have it both ways people.  You can’t rail against failed government programs, and wasteful government spending, but be in favor of a program that brings in $1 for every $2 it pays out to people who flooded in flood-prone areas.  It took Congress almost 90 days to finally send relief to Sandy affected areas.  The first thing they did?  They put $10 billion into the NFIP.  A failed program $17 billion in debt at the time.  People in NJ cheered, and then they went back to supporting the sequester cuts, not raising the debt ceiling, and the government shutdown.

Great background report on NFIP here.

Beachfill in Margate could put Fishing Pier out of Business

We expect a massive amount of sand to be the federal government’s response to Hurricane Sandy in NJ.  But the problems associated with beachfill are well documented; see the Costs of Beachfill section of this article.  In some cases,  beachfill keeps people from coming to the beach, because beachfill destroyed what they enjoyed about the beach.  Be it fishing, safe swimming, wading, surfing or just enjoying a natural beach.  Here is the latest threat to fishing and a way of life in Margate NJ, covered by the Press of Atlantic City’s Elisa Lala. Continue reading “Beachfill in Margate could put Fishing Pier out of Business”

Never Coming Back

Here is a powerful reason to Rethink the entire Coast.  Imagine whole neighborhoods and communities falling apart.  The cost of not thinking before we develop is high.  If people are flooded and they are not in a position to rebuild right away, whole neighborhoods could be lost.  Maybe this is a neighborhood that should be bought out.  Original article in the Press of Atlantic City January 4, 2014 by Donna Weaver.  I would skip the video though.

Flood Maps Left NYC Unprepared for Sandy’s Surge

Pro Publica did some excellent investigative reporting on the state of FEMA flood maps in the lead up to Sandy.  In the early 2000’s it seems that FEMA invested only in digitizing old flood maps instead of updating the data on what areas would now flood.  An interview with authors Theodoric Meyer and Al Shaw on WNYC aired on December 6, 2013.  But don’t just listen to the 4 minute interview, read the story below and see the interactive map of where floods were predicted compared to where they occurred.