The NFIP program is heavily burdened with expenditures due to recent hurricanes and river flooding across the nation. Congress is searching for ways to repay the deficits and move forward with an actuarially sound insurance program. Currently all property behind levees are exempt from the program. One consideration is to mandate insurance premiums for flood insurance for those that live in areas prone to flooding, without consideration of the quality and effectiveness of levee systems.
Fort Bend County maintains more than 20 Levee Improvement Districts (LID) protecting more than $20 billion in development throughout the County. These districts are built and maintained to a standard that meets or exceeds 44CFR65.10, which is the federal regulation promulgated by FEMA to define a fully protective levee. Our levees were built without federal funding and are maintained to FEMA standards. The Fort Bend County Drainage District inspects to ensure compliance. The May 2016 Brazos River flood event put these levees to the test, proving them successful in protecting the infrastructure within.
Judge Hebert’s message to Congress is that while the NFIP program needs reform, they should use 44CFR65.10 as the benchmark for certifying a protective levee in the NFIP. Without that protection, mandated premiums will unfairly fall on our citizens in Fort Bend County.
Judge Hebert said, “The message is simple and logical, but we will need to keep repeating it at regular intervals until Congress reauthorizes NFIP because complex and illogical decisions can be made in any legislative process. Fortunately, we have Congressmen like Pete Olson and Al Green, and Senators Cornyn and Cruz who fully support our efforts.”
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