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Addressing Affordability and Long-Term Resiliency Through the National Flood Insurance Program

April 2015

Citation: 45 ELR 10338

Issue: 4

Author: Becky Hayat and Robert Moore

Given projections of sea-level rise and extreme precipitation from climate change, the United States will experience more frequent and more severe flood events in coming years. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies, therefore, should be geared toward making relocation the easiest and most attractive option for property owners to pursue. The authors propose that property owners should agree in advance not to rebuild following floods that cause substantial damage and, instead, to accept a government buyout of their property and relocate. In exchange, they would receive a discount on their federal flood insurance coverage, a guarantee that their property would be purchased at its pre-disaster market value, and a faster buyout process. This model could be implemented as part of the NFIP, or alternatively by states, local governments, and conservation organizations through the purchase of conservation easements on flood-prone properties.

Becky Hayat is an Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Water Program, where she works on a variety of issues including the National Flood Insurance Program, climate resiliency, stormwater pollution, and urban water efficiency. Robert Moore is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he leads the organization’s Water & Climate Team and works on a range of issues related to climate preparedness and resilience.

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