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Obama executive order requires federal construction projects to consider flood damage caused by climate change

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Codes and Standards

Obama executive order requires federal construction projects to consider flood damage caused by climate change

To meet the new standard, builders must build two feet above the currently projected elevation for 100-year floods for most projects.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | February 6, 2015
Obama executive order requires federal construction projects to consider flood damage caused by climate change

The standard would make large tracts of low-lying land off limits for construction with federal funds. Photo: Craig Dietrich via Wikimedia Commons 

President Obama last month issued an executive order requiring that all federally funded construction projects take into account flood risks linked to global warming, reports the New York Times.

To meet the new standard, builders must use data and methods informed by the best available climate science, or build two feet above the currently projected elevation for 100-year floods for most projects. Critical buildings like hospitals and evacuation centers must be constructed three feet above the 100-year level or at the currently projected 500-year flood level.

The standard would make large tracts of low-lying land off limits for construction with federal funds.

In recent years, economists have urged policy makers to begin to plan for the costs of damages caused by climate change. From 1980 to 2013, the United States suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages, the White House said.

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