Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tell the Trump regime: Restore flood safety rules

The petition to the Trump administration reads:
"We cannot afford another Hurricane Harvey. To protect American lives and infrastructure in future disasters, federal agencies must rely on science-based planning. Restore the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard."
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Trump is unacceptable
Texas is experiencing the most extreme rainfall event in U.S. history,1 and it isn't over yet. Stranded victims on rooftops are begging for rescue. Hospitals and nursing homes are filling with polluted floodwater. Tens of thousands have been left homeless. The state will take years, if not decades, to recover.
But the harsh truth is that we can only expect more nightmare floods in the future. As our atmosphere and oceans heat up, we will face more record-breaking storms, rainfall and flooding.2 Even as first responders race to save lives, there are things we can do now to protect human life in advance of storms to come.
Yet just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse potentially life-saving flood safety rules implemented by Pres. Obama.3 This destructive, irresponsible decision risks American lives when future disasters strike. The Trump regime must reverse this order – now.
The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard requires federal agencies to take sea level rise and flood risks into account when funding new infrastructure or rebuilding after disasters.4 It is the first new U.S. flood protection rule in 40 years,5 and a former official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called it "the most significant action taken in a generation" to safeguard U.S. infrastructure.6
Since 1998, FEMA has spent nearly $50 billion on grants in response to federally declared flood disasters, most of which have gone to rebuild public infrastructure projects like bridges, schools, roads and hospitals.7 FEMA estimates that every dollar spent on mitigation saves $4 in recovery and rebuilding costs after disasters.8
By requiring agencies to either build projects that withstand future flooding or avoid building in flood-prone areas, the new standard was supposed to move the United States toward a safer, more prepared future. Instead, Donald Trump reversed it with a stroke of his pen – making communities less safe and putting taxpayers on the hook to pay for future destruction.
Even some Republicans in Congress denounced Trump's decision to reverse the rules as "fiscally irresponsible."9 Now just two weeks later, Congress is now returning after its recess to contemplate a budget that will require increased emergency funds and flood insurance costs. Hurricane Harvey will cost Texas between $30 billion and $100 billion in damage, if not more.10 Experts say that if the Trump regime does not restore the flood standard, much of the federal funds sent to rebuild will be wasted on construction that won't withstand the next severe storm.11 And these numbers hide the human cost of that damage, including lives lost.
Trump's refusal to listen to scientists and experts is putting Americans at risk. We cannot let the right-wing extremists in the Trump regime and Congress politicize preparation for natural disasters. We need our federal government to use the best available science to protect our roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Anything less is gambling with our future.
Now is the time to push the Trump administration to reinstate the flood safety rules and restore the role of science in government policy.
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Want to make a donation now to directly help those most in need in the wake of Hurricane Harvey?
Click here to view a list of resources and opportunities to donate compiled by CREDO staff.
  1. Jason Samenow, "Harvey marks the most extreme rain event in U.S. history," The Washington Post, Aug. 29, 2017.
  2. National Climate Assessment, "Findings: Extreme Weather," 2014.
  3. John Nichols, "How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao sold off flood-control policy to the highest bidders," The Nation, Aug. 28, 2017.
  4. Franklin Nutter and Robert Moore, "Don't block Obama's flood rule," POLITICO, July 6, 2016.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Harriet Sinclair, "Trump rescinded Obama's flood-risk rule weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit," Newsweek, Aug. 27, 2017.
  7. Nutter and Moore, "Don't block Obama's flood rule."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Nancy Klingener, "Curbelo: Trump Infrastructure Order Is 'Irresponsible,'" WLRN, Aug. 16, 2017.
  10. Eliza Relman, "Trump reversed regulations to protect infrastructure against flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey," Business Insider, Aug. 28, 2017.
  11. Ibid.

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