The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the primary source of residential flood insurance for American property owners. However, only 5% of single-family homeowners in America are insured against floods due to the asymmetric dissemination of information regarding regional flood risk. FSF notes that the NFIP’s assessment of properties facing a risk of flooding is underestimated by about 5.9 million, meaning that property owners excluded from the NFIP’s count are likely unaware of the risk flooding poses to their property.
Risk reduction efforts, from updating building codes and reinforcing community infrastructure to utilizing “natural infrastructure” to mitigate flooding, offer more opportunities for environmental and economic advancement, and prove very cost-effective––for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation in the US, an estimated $6 in future disaster costs can be saved. Beyond these fiscal benefits, fostering flood resilience promises to increase social benefit for communities, secure physical property, and minimize land erosion. Reliance on forms of natural infrastructure like mangrove forests in coastal flood-prone regions can also raise ecological health by revitalizing native biodiversity and ecosystems.
Several states have recently responded to the demonstrated need for flood resilience and mitigation tactics through legislation to create statewide flood resilience strategies, collect flood risk data, and mitigate flood risk through infrastructural improvement.
In Florida, HB7053, Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience, was passed on May 4, 2022. The bill, effective July 1, 2022, establishes a Statewide Office of Resilience within the Executive Office of the Governor; provides for the appointment and specifies the duties of a Chief Resilience Officer; requires the Department of Environmental Protection, in conjunction with the Chief Resilience Officer, to submit a report on flood resilience and mitigation efforts to the Governor and Legislature; and requires the state’s Department of Transportation to formulate a resilience action plan for the State Highway System that will be submitted to the Governor and Legislature. It also makes several revisions to the projects which the Department of Environmental Protection may fund within the Resilient Florida Grant Program, as well as to the vulnerability assessment requisites for noncoastal communities; extends the dates by which the Department of Environmental Protection must complete its statewide sea level rise and flood vulnerability data set and analysis and requires a ranking of projects in the Statewide Flood & Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.
In Virginia, HB516, passed on April 11, 2022, implements recommendations first enumerated in the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan (dated December 2021). In addition to offering guidelines for developing a Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan for the Commonwealth and requiring regular five-year updates to the plan beginning December 31, 2022, the bill establishes the Virginia Coastal Resilience Technical Advisory Committee to assist with these updates and lays the groundwork for developing a community outreach and engagement plan that will ensure involvement from vulnerable and affected community residents. The bill also mandates that the Chief Resilience Officer report on the Commonwealth’s flood resilience status every two years.
On May 27, 2022, Virginian lawmakers passed HB517, which further clarified the designation and responsibilities of the Chief Resilience Officer by moving the position from under the designation of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, and by adding provisions which expand the responsibilities of the Chief Resilience Officer in formulating and overseeing the implementation of a Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan and a Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan.
In Tennessee, SB2525, introduced on February 2, 2022, proposed establishing a Tennessee flood resilience and community preparedness task force. The bill would have charged the task force with identifying current and future flood risks to the state and its citizens, prioritizing eligible flood mitigation projects, coordinating state agencies to identify funding opportunities and efficiencies, and formulating policy reform. The bill made its way to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, where it faced deferred action on April 26, 2022, and ultimately died in committee.
Photo credit: iStock.com/hrui States have grappled with addressing climate change and transitioning toward sustainable energy sources. A critical component of these efforts lies in implementing Renewable Energy Standards, or Renewable Portfolio Standards, which aim to [...]
Photo credit: iStock.com/NongAsimo Catalytic converters are a very valuable car part located beneath most motor vehicles. The devices convert harmful pollutants in internal combustion engine (ICE) exhaust gases into less toxic ones. According to David [...]
Photo credit: iStock.com/PhonlamaiPhoto With electric vehicles (EVs) growing in use and popularity in the U.S., a new challenge has emerged: what to do with the growing number of electric vehicle batteries approaching the end of [...]
Photo credit: iStock.com/curtoicurto “Bottle bills”, also known as container deposit laws, impose refundable deposits on beverage containers like beer bottles and soft drink cans to promote recycling and reduce litter. Under this system, retailers [...]