While ASFPM is very supportive of additional investments in the nation's infrastructure, today's EO is a huge step backwards. We are extremely disappointed in the EO 13690 and Federal Flood Risk Management Standard being repealed, which will result in much higher costs to US taxpayers.
Former President Obama enacted the EO 13690 Jan. 30, 2015 to make America more resilient to natural disasters such as floods and storm surge. He enacted this specifically to save taxpayers from having to pay, over and over again, to rebuild infrastructure. When you look at all of the federal disaster assistance provided over time, the dollars focused on rebuilding infrastructure is the most costly. Time and again floodplain managers have seen the effects of not mitigating infrastructure to be more resilient to flooding, whether it is upsizing a culvert that gets washed out after every flood, or retrofitting a water or wastewater treatment plant that, if flooded, could cost tens of millions to repair.
EO 13690 gave agencies flexibility to use an approach that best suited the available information and use flood protection levels that many communities have already adopted. Now federally funded infrastructure will be able to be built at a lower standard than is required in many communities since federally-funded projects are often exempt from local flood protection standards.
"It is as if common sense was thrown out the window and the taxpayers are going to be footing the bill through disaster assistance when new infrastructure gets built and subsequently flooded," said Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers Chad Berginnis. "Flooding in the nation is getting worse, flood losses are rising, and it appears the current administration is content to do nothing."
ASFPM will keep our members posted on this development.