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Letter From FEMA to Us Representatives

Letter From FEMA to Us Representatives

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Published by: The Dallas Morning News on Oct 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/04/2011

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TheHonorableMartinHeinrichUnitedStatesHouse
of
RepresentativesWashington,
OC
20515DearRepresentativeHeinrich:
MAR
10
2011
U.S.
Departmentof
HomelandSecurity
500CStreet,SWWashington,
DC
20472
FEMA
Thankyouforyour
letterdated
February18,2011,tothe
Department
of
HomelandSecurity,FederalEmergency
Management
Agency
(FEMA).
On
behalf
of
yourconstituents,youjoinedanumber
of
otherRepresentativesinasking
that
FEMA
discontinuetheNationalFloodInsuranceProgram
(NFIP)
use
of
"withoutlevee"analyseswhentheleveestructuredoesnot
meetthe
regulatoryrequirementsforaccreditationandanaffectedcommunityobjectstosuchanalysisinfavor
of
moreprecisemethods
of
floodmodeling.Youexpressedconcern
that
thistype
of
modelingdoesnotconsidertheimpacts
of
aleveeorfloodcontrolstructureontheI-percentannual-chanceflood,anderodespublicconfidenceinFEMA'smappingprocess.
As
youareaware,overthe
past
year
FEMA
hasbeenengagedinacomprehensivereview
of
the
NFlP
toidentifyreformsdesignedtoenable
FEMA
to
better
addressthefloodrisksfacedbytheAmericanpublic.Werecognize
that
ourapproachtomappingthefloodriskassociatedwithlevees
that
donot
meet
Federalaccreditationrequirementshas
been
aconcernformany.Assuch,wehaveincludedthissubjectasanimportantconsiderationinourongoing
NFIP
reformefforts,whilealsoexploringshort-termresolutions.Somechangesintheprogrammust
take
placeinthe
near
term.
In
ordertoincreasethecredibility
of
ourFloodInsuranceRateMapsinareaswhereleveesare
not
accredited,Ihavedirectedmy
staff
toreplacethe"withoutlevee"modelingapproachwithasuite
of
methodologies
that
aretechnically-sound,credible,andcost-effective.Theapproachwill
bettermeet
theneeds
of
ourcitizenswhileprovidingmorepreciseresults
thatbetter
reflectthefloodriskinareasimpactedbylevees.Thiswillnotreplacetheneedforleveeownersortheassociatedcommunitiestoremain
engaged
infloodrisk
management
activitiesorchangetheexistingrequirementsforthemtoprovideleveeaccreditationinformationasoutlinedintheCode
of
FederalRegulations(44
CFR
65.10).
Thedetails
of
thisnewapproachwilltakesometimetofinalize.Acknowledging
that
thereareongoingfloodhazardanalysisstudieswherethe"withoutlevee"approach
hasbeen
used,
FEMA
willtemporarilywithholdissuingFinalDeterminationsforthosecommunitieswhoseleveesdonot
meet
accreditationrequirementsandwouldclearlybenefitfromthisnewapproach.This
temporary
delaywillallowustoproperlyevaluateaffectedleveesunderthenewprocedures.Whileournewproceduresarebeingdeveloped,therisk
of
floodingremainsin
many
of
yourcommunities-whethercausedbyunforeseenleveefailureorheavyrainfalleventscausingfloodinginsidetheleveesystem.Wetrust
that
youandthe
other
Representativesconcerned
about
thisissuewillhelptoensurethepublicdoesnotdevelopafalsesense
of
securityregardingfloodriskasweworkthroughandimplementthesechanges.Iamrequestingyourcontinued
www.fema.gov

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