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Rubio, Durbin, Colleagues Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Map Urban Flooding & Help FEMA Better Assess Risks

May 12, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act of 2021. The bill would enhance the mapping of urban flooding to prevent associated damage and assist cities and towns with the tools they need to address flooding at the local level. 
“Unfortunately, some flooding in Florida is unavoidable, but we can prepare for, and mitigate against, the amount of damage that floods can bring to our cities and towns,” Rubio said. “New and more accurate flood mapping will help local governments, businesses and homeowners make informed, sustainable decisions on flood insurance.”
“Climate change brings record amounts of rainfall to Illinois year after year,” Durbin said. “Something that is often an afterthought is how increased rainfall effects urban environments, and currently we lack the data needed to develop effective solutions to limit damage. I’m proud to once again introduce this bipartisan bill that provides desperately needed data about flood risk in urban neighborhoods and communities. If we can help local government understand the scope of their problem, then we can better develop solutions.”
For a full list of cosponsor quotes, click here.
Urban flooding frequently occurs outside the regulatory floodplain, and FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) do not always accurately indicate flood risk in these areas, resulting in uncertainty of the hazards at hand.
By providing demonstration grants for cities to invest in innovative mapping technologies, the Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act of 2021 allows constituents the opportunity to more accurately assess their flood risks. The legislation also allow them to develop better communication tools, urban design measures, and flood mitigation policies that would put them in a stronger position to protect their communities. Once each pilot program expires, the information gathered and lessons learned would be sent to Congress and FEMA to fully assess each city’s best practices and to apply them to FEMA’s National Flood Mapping Program.