Hare pushes changes in FEMA Flood Map Modernization Process

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Reps. Dave Loebsack, Phil Hare, Sam Graves, and Blaine Luetkemeyer were joined by more than 60 lawmakers in a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) raising concerns and urging changes to the FEMA flood map modernization process. FEMA is currently updating the nation’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps and the map modernization process is creating numerous challenges for affected communities. The letter highlights several issues raised by communities such as a lack of outreach and accuracy of data in regard to the map modernization process.

“The new flood map boundaries may put many Iowa families in a difficult position - they must balance the family budget with a new and unexpected expense and a potential decline in their home value,” said Loebsack. “I certainly believe that flood insurance is one of the most important investments a homeowner can make but also believe it is commonsense that homeowners should have a fair opportunity to participate in the process that will ultimately affect their home’s value and be able to have a level of trust that the data being used is accurate.”

“Many parts of my district, especially the village of Gulfport, were devastated by the floods of 2008,” Hare said. “The last thing they can afford is for FEMA to rush through the new mapping process without addressing their legitimate concerns about everything from funding for the required engineering to insurance rates to levee certification. I call on FEMA to slow down, coordinate with the levee certification efforts already performed annually with the Corps of Engineers, consult with the stakeholders up and down the Mississippi River, and ensure the new flood maps are as fair and accurate as possible.”

“I think most people agree our nation’s flood maps need to be updated.  However, many communities, homeowners, small businesses and levee districts in NW Missouri are frustrated with the way in which FEMA and the USACE are handling this process, and rightfully so,” said Graves. “There are serious issues and challenges that have arisen throughout the flood map modernization effort and FEMA and the USACE are either unaware of these problems or unwilling to address them. We can and must do better.”  

“Americans deserve to have answers because of the risks they face from river flooding and that it why I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to secure solutions for river communities,” Luetkemeyer said. “Our group is hopeful that federal officials will work with us in an expedited manner to resolve these issues and provide peace of mind to our constituents.”

The letter highlighted numerous problems within the process that have yet to be resolved, asked for a response to be provided on what steps have been taken to address the issues, and highlighted the Members’ willingness to work with FEMA and the USACE to improve the process.