Increase Funding for Essential Flood Map Program

Flooding in Minot.

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Increase funding for the updating of the federal government’s flood insurance maps.

2012 was the hottest year since temperature records began. It was also a year of devastating climate change in the United States; eleven extreme weather disasters exceeded $1 billion in damages. Data and tools, such as the federal government’s flood insurance maps, have increased in importance due to these dramatic circumstances. Flood maps are necessary for the calculation of monthly insurance premiums and the development of building codes. They are also frequently used by homeowners and buyers to determine how likely their communities are to flood. These maps clearly have significant safety and insurance purposes, yet the federal government has cut funding for the program by 62 percent in recent years.

In 2010, Congress slashed flood map funding from $221 million to $100 million. President Obama’s latest budget request proposes another $16 billion cut in the program. These reductions could significantly weaken the map-making process; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that cuts could delay the program by three to five years. This is not encouraging news, especially given the fact that many states are already forced to refer to maps that are outdated and inaccurate. For example, flood maps in Vermont, including those detailing recently flooded areas near Lake Champlain, are said to be several decades old.

New, updated maps have positive benefits. Intuitively, they are far more accurate than older versions. Updated flood maps also help to guide development toward areas that are less likely to flood. FEMA wants to amend 80 percent of the country’s flood hazard data. The agency cannot attain this goal if spending continues to be slashed. By signing this petition, you are helping to urge the Obama administration to increase funding for the flood insurance maps program. Unless more maps are developed and revised, homeowners and communities will continue to be susceptible to improper risk assessment, flood damage, and possible threats to their health and safety.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Obama,

In 2012, eleven extreme weather disasters exceeded $1 billion in damages. The federal government’s flood insurance maps have increased in importance due to these dramatic circumstances. These maps have significant safety and insurance purposes, yet your administration has cut funding to the program by 62 percent in recent years.

Your latest budget request proposes another $16 billion cut in the program. These reductions could significantly weaken the map-making process; FEMA estimates that cuts could delay the program by three to five years. This is not encouraging news, especially given the fact that many states are already forced to refer to maps that are outdated and inaccurate.

FEMA plans to amend 80 percent of the country’s flood hazard data. The agency cannot achieve this goal if spending continues to be slashed. I am urging you to increase funding for the flood insurance maps program. Unless more maps are developed and updated, homeowners and communities will continue to be susceptible to improper risk assessment, flood damage, and possible threats to their health and safety.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB via Wikimedia Commons

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2 Comments

  1. J Davidson says:

    Climate change is real, and the sooner the better to take every measure possible to confront the situation.

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186 Signatures

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