Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FEMA Opens Comment Period For Proposed Rule Changes

A while back (meaning almost 2 years ago in February 2015), we had a blog post to bring attention to the new Federal Executive Order (EO) signed by President Obama, EO 13690.  In that post, we also wrote about how the federal standard regarding flood risks was being updated as a result of the new updated EO.  The federal standard is called the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and is an update to how we as a country look at and review development in floodplains when using federal money.  The new FFRMS lays out a process going beyond the minimum standards established for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), trying to acknowledge and plan for adaptation to climate change.  This includes the type of data that should be used to assess floodplain risk, the types of approaches that should be used to considered how to avoid & minimize flood risk, etc.  At FEMA's summary website about the FFRMS, they have posted FAQ sheets from FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and Housing & Urban Development (HUD) responding to comments that were received on the draft FFRMS document put out for public comment.

In order to implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, FEMA has opened a public comment period on their proposed rule changes to comply with the new Federal EO.  While these rule changes would only apply to Federal projects or projects where a federal action is taken (it would not affect the minimum requirements of the NFIP), you may be interested to learn more about FEMA's proposed rule changes to implement the FFRMS, and to submit comments.  The comment period for FEMA's proposal to amend its regulations for "Floodplain Management & Protection of Wetlands" is open until October 21, 2016.