Summaries of current proposed legislation are highlighted below. More details on the legislation can found in the entire ASFPM Monthly Legislative Report and from the Library of Congress.
S2039 - Levees on HMGP Buyout Land
This Senate Passed Bill establishes a pilot program in North Dakota to allow levee construction on property acquired through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and deed restricted as open space.
S3039-Levees on HMGP Buyout Land
ASFPM Letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on S. 2039
Clean Water Restoration Act
Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 to protect the waters of the United States. The CWA refers to "navigable waters" and defines its jurisdiction as covering the "waters of the United States, including the territorial seas." Subsequent Supreme Court decisions have further interpreted CWA jurisdiction, most recently in SWANCC and Rapanos, which effectively narrowed CWA jurisdiction as covering "only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water "forming geographic features" that are described in ordinary parlance as "streams[,] ... oceans, rivers, [and] lakes." The Clean Water Restoration Act is intended to restore the jurisdiction of the CWA to the original extent intended by Congress to be necessary to meet the original objectives of the CWA. A series of reports discusses the impacts to local waters and wetlands in four states under regulatory guidance resulting from two Supreme Court Cases. Compiled by the National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited, the reports identify case studies where the loss of Clean Water Act protections has had impact on local waters in Colorado, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee. The report can be found at:
"Clean Water Restoration Act" HR 5088
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reform and Reauthorization
After a number of very short term reauthorizations of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since September, 2009, the program expired again on May 31st.
ASFPM Policy Position on NFIP Reform and Reauthorization
Stafford Act Revisions
The Disaster Response, Recovery and Mitigation Enhancement Act, H.R. 3377, was reported out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on November 5, 2009. The measure is likely to be considered on the House Floor early in the 2nd session.
Among its provisions the bill provides for increased mitigation funds (under Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) for states which actively enforce approved building codes. It also authorizes the rescue and shelter of animals during disasters and emergencies and the continued issuance of grants for implementation of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. It is possible that ammendments will be considered on the floor.
On March 4, 2010, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management held a hearing on the recently released Conference of Mayors Report on the Stafford Act and recommended revisions to the Stafford Act. Chad Berginnis, former ASFPM Chair and current ASFPM Mitigation POD leader, testified for the Association. ASFPM will present testimony before the Subcommittee to discuss the Conference of Mayors' report and to offer some additional recommendations for Stafford Act amendments.
ASFPM testimony and the House summary report can be found on our Working with Congress webpage under Testimony.
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2016
The PDFs below are a complete compilation of ASFPM thoughts and comments submitted on PL 84-99 and some on the broader WRDA, where we believe there can be productive legislative changes and well as the Corps doing some administrative changes.
ASFPM comments for WRDA 2016 Senate-House Conference (October 2016)
ASFPM comments on PL84-99 (January 2016)
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2010
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Water Resources Subcommittee has begun development of a new WRDA bill. The most recent WRDA was in 2007, and, among other provisions, established the National Committee on Levee Safety (NCSL).
Sustainable Watershed Planning
The Water Resources Subcommittee also is continuing work on legislation to provide a framework for water resources and watershed planning and to establish an office in the Executive Office of the President to facilitate improved and less confusing and overlapping planning requirements.
Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act
H.R. 3820 primarily provides for hazard reduction research, focused on an all hazards approach to earthquake and windstorm. It gives significant responsibility to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and establishes an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Natural Hazards Risk Reduction to be chaired by NIST. The stated purpose of the committee is to "oversee the planning and coordination of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHERP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program".... and to "make proposals for planning and coordination of any other Federal research for natural hazard mitigation that the Committee considers appropriate."
Climate Change and Adaptation Legislation
Development of a Senate energy and climate bill is progressing, but is a multi-track process involving many committees and players. ASFPM is concerned that, so far, the measures proposed do not sufficiently address adaptation to climate change. While there is some attention to natural resources adaptation in one of the proposals, it does not addreass adaptation of the built environment.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has reported out a bill to restore FEMA to independent-agency and cabinet-level status. The measure, H.R. 1174, was introduced and supported by both the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. The Committee Report has not yet been filed, although it is expected soon. The timing for consideration of the bill on the House floor is uncertain.