Louisiana officials critical of stricter building standards in flood-prone areas

There are concerns that the restrictions are too stringent for southern areas of the state.

February 22, 2015 |
Louisiana officials critical of stricter building standards in flood-prone areas

Photo: David Fine / FEMA via Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana leaders spoke out against an executive order by President Barack Obama that would put stricter building standards on federally financed projects in flood-prone areas.

The new flood-risk management standard requires infrastructure to be built taller or on higher ground to better withstand flooding. Buildings would have to be built either two or three feet above the base flood elevation for a 100-year flood or above the base elevation for a 500-year flood. A project could also be completed under the guidance of the “best-available, actionable climate science.”

Dwayne Bourgeois, executive director of the North Lafourche Levee District, told Houma Today that the regulations might alter local projects that have already started. South Louisiana's low-lying geography is unlike any other in the country, he said, and should be taken into consideration when federal regulations are made.

U.S. Sens. David Vitter, Bill Cassidy and other Republican representatives are questioning the legality of the executive order. A 60-day comment period is under way before the new standard goes into effect.

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