St. Charles Herald-Guide

Congresswoman who authored flood act protected own district from high insurance rates

By Kyle Barnett - April 25, 2013

The congresswoman who co-authored the Biggert-Waters Act boasts on her website that she helped a community of her constituents fend off new FEMA flood maps in areas that were never considered flood plains before their latest remap.

Maxine Waters (D–California) co-authored the Biggert-Waters Act, which passed last July and will result in the application of highly increased flood insurance rates to properties across the nation.

In a post on Waters’ official House of Representatives website, she details how she helped keep a Los Angeles neighborhood from being required to buy "costly flood insurance" due to a recent FEMA flood remap as well as the effects of the Biggert-Waters Act.

In Waters’ opposition to the FEMA remap she cited that the area had never recorded a flood and has not been shown to be prone to flooding when FEMA issued the original maps in the area in 1980s.

"As Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, which has jurisdiction over the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA, I began communications with FEMA in order to understand why the area had been designated as a flood plain and to request FEMA reconsider its decision, which they did," Waters said.

Waters celebrated with the community after FEMA reconsidered their remap of the area and decided to not designate it as a flood plain.

"I joined FEMA at a town hall on January 30 to share the good news with residents in person, after having previously sent them a letter, and to answer any questions that they may have," Waters said.

Similarly, many of the areas that will be most affected in St. Charles Parish, should FEMA’s proposed maps be applied, do not have a history of flooding and are being considered flood plains for the first time.

In fact, the Sunset Drainage District has had a levee in place for the past century and has no history of flooding, however, some homeowners who live in that area may be required to pay tens of thousands of dollars in flood insurance premiums.

As recently as the proposed FEMA remap of 2008, the Sunset Drainage District was not considered a flood plain.

It is uncertain whether one of St. Charles Parish’s congressmen would be able to persuade FEMA as effectively as Waters was able to in getting them to reconsider the parish’s new map.

None of the congressmen on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity are from Louisiana.

Waters’ office did not respond to requests for comment from the Herald-Guide on this topic.

Congresswoman who authored flood act protected own district from high insurance rates