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Harvey Turns More Attention to NFIP Renewal Need

Kirsten Roed

Few can dispute the need for the National Flood Insurance Program, considering the devastation wrought by Harvey.

“The imperative to get it reauthorized, I think the exclamation point has been provided by Harvey, but we didn’t need Harvey to tell us how important flood insurance is,” says Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

And when Congress returns to work next week, Louisiana’s delegation will be leading the effort to renew NFIP, which expires September 30th.

“Senator Cassidy has a bill to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, as does Senator Kennedy,” Edwards states.

The National Flood Insurance Program is currently $25-billion in the red, with less than $8-billion available to pay the claims that will arise out of Harvey.

Senator John Kennedy says prior to this latest hurricane, he heard some say NFIP subsidizies Louisiana citizens at the expense of the rest of U.S. taxpayers.

“There are some in Congress that think: Everybody in Louisiana lives on the water. Move!” Kennedy says, though Harvey’s harm to Houston may be changing that tune.

“We don’t have a choice. We’ve got to get it renewed.”

Senator Bill Cassidy says his bill, co-authored by Democrat Kirsten Gillebrand of New York, provides money for flood prevention.

“In it we have $400-million a year for so-called flood mitigation.,” Cassidy told attendees at a recent town hall meeting. “The $400-million could all be used by communities to lower their risk of flooding.”

In addition to the record rainfall, it’s generally acknowledged Houston’s flooding – like the August 2016 south Louisiana flood – was exacerbated by poor planning of urban and residential development.

“Land that used to absorb water in the dirt now has concrete on it,” Cassidy explains, simply.

And that is something that could create flooding in any community, anywhere.