Environmental and planning groups have petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update flood maps, set tougher standards for floodplain construction, and prepare for climate change.
The groups noted that the National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA, has paid more than $69 billion in flood insurance claims since 1973, with half of that total disbursed in the last dozen years. The spike in claims is part of the reason the insurance program is more than $20 billion in debt, the petition says.
Development continues on floodplains, while areas at risk of inundation expand due to sea level rise, the petition says. The problem is particularly in acute in Louisiana, Texas, and in coastal regions of the Northeast.
The group also asks for more help for homeowners seeking to cut flood risks, and for FEMA to require all new or substantially improved buildings in floodplains to be raised above the 100-year flood level.