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Sen. Landrieu's Act Fights Rising Flood Rates
The recent deluge debate is set for its next round in the ring otherwise known as the U.S. Capitol. Following the defeat of a measure to curtail skyrocketing flood rates last week, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu introduced a new act today. Last week, Sen. Toomey (R-PA) blocked a Landrieu amendment on flood rates that was made to a large Water Resources bill from going to vote. Landrieu fired back today with the Strengthen Modernize and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program Act (SMART NFIP).
The new legislation is in an attempt to modify the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012, which effectively increases flood insurance premiums for homeowners. The higher the water marks, the more the figures grow.
The Act was on one of many laws, including Landrieu’s RESTORE Act, that tacked on to last year’s Senate transportation bill. The Louisiana Senator has repeatedly clarified that she never had an opportunity to vote on Biggert-Waters individually, and that she would have voted “no” had she been given the opportunity.
Under Biggert-Waters, NFIP premiums are set to rise for homeowners who were grandfathered into lower rates, beginning in October of 2014. Rather than paying a fixed rate, premiums for residents of flood-prone areas would reflect risk.
Considering coastal vulnerability to storms, such rate increases would severely impact many South Louisiana folks. Local organizations such as GNO Inc. have joined in the fight. The economic devlopment org held a press conference at the home of Robert and Lisa Taylor, residents of Des Allemandes, La. If Biggert-Waters’ current language was to be enforced, the couple would pay over $28,000 for flood insurance annually.
Landrieu’s new legislation aims to delay such increases, allow for the rebuilding of community facilities that are in velocity zones (v-zones), and repeal provisions that end subsidized rates for new homeowners. If SMART NFIP passes, new homeowners will be able to continue to pay subsidized rates on sold homes.
“Flood insurance must be affordable, accessible and self-sustainable. Biggert-Waters only addressed self-sustainability at the cost of homeowners in Louisiana and across the country living around water. The SMART NFIP Act is a better way to achieve all three of these goals and will allow families and businesses to continue working and living securely around water,” Sen. Landrieu said.
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