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Rubio, Posey Introduce Legislation to Improve Flood Hazard Identification in FEMA Maps

Apr 11, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Flood Insurance Rate Map Interagency Technology (FIRM IT) Act of 2019. This legislation would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to consult with the Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in order to obtain the most up-to-date information relevant to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rate maps. This will allow Floridians, and others who utilize NFIP, to have the most accurate data for flood hazard identification.
Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) is reintroducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Coastal communities in Florida rely upon FEMA to provide accurate information on their risk for flooding, and as we rapidly approach Hurricane season, it is imperative that these maps are accurate,” Rubio said. “This legislation will require FEMA to coordinate with relevant federal agencies that will ensure Floridians, and others across the nation, have flood maps that are both accurate and current.”
“In many cases we haven’t updated our floodplain maps in 20 years,” Posey said. “This simple and straight forward proposal will reform the way floodplain maps are produced, calling on the already existing resources of other agencies that produce similar maps, saving time, money and reducing duplication.”
“Nothing can be more devastating for a family, a business or a community than the loss of property. FEMA flood mapping is an invaluable tool that allows local governments to prepare their communities for worst case scenarios. We thank Senator Rubio for his  forward thinking approach to safeguarding Florida’s citizens,” said Commissioner Karson Turner, President of the Florida Association of Counties.
“In a state with the most policies in the NFIP, it is important to Florida’s cities and their residents that flood maps are based on accurate data. Directing FEMA to consult with other federal entities will help to ensure that flood maps appropriately assess potential risk. Thank you for proposing the FIRM IT Act of 2019 to improve the flood mapping process,” said Bartow City Mayor Leo E. Longworth, Florida League of Cities President.
“Florida Surveying and Mapping Society applauds Senator Rubio for this beneficial legislation. The inclusion of geographic attributes in the FIRM IT Act will provide a better platform for our state’s citizens and the Federal agencies in addressing flood risk management and recovery,” said Dianne M. Collins, PLS, President of the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society (FSMS).
“NSPS commends Senator Rubio for introducing the FIRM IT Act which focuses on data sharing, and specifically improving efforts on topographic and cadastral data where it is available,” said Curtis W. Sumner, Executive Director of National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).
“The FIRM IT Act will add essential features to FEMA flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs), make greater use of state-of-the-art geospatial technology, and make the maps more accurate and useful. We commend Senator Rubio for his contributions toward improved mapping,” said John Palatiello, Founder of U.S. GEO.