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*JOINT HEARING with the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery* "Flood Preparedness and Mitigation: Map Modernization, Levee Inspection, and Levee Repairs"

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building SD-342



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Member Statements

Agenda

The purpose of this hearing was to evaluate preparedness and mitigation efforts among flood-prone communities and responsible federal agencies, by evaluating the accuracy of the FEMA flood map modernization process, its impact on states and localities, mechanisms for dispute resolution, and the impact of levee inspections and certifications on determinations of flood risk. Since the epic failure of the federal levees in New Orleans in August 2005, additional levee failures occurred during the Midwest floods in 2008 and the historic spring floods earlier this year in Rhode Island and Tennessee. On March 18, 2010, 16 Senators signed a letter to FEMA and the Corps of Engineers citing challenges in the ongoing flood map modernization process. Among the areas listed were: a lack of communication and outreach with local stakeholders; a lack of coordination between FEMA and USACE in answering questions about both flood mapping, flood insurance and flood control infrastructure repairs; a lack of recognition of locally funded flood control projects when determining flood zones; the affordability of flood insurance; inadequate time and resources to complete repairs to flood control structures before flood maps are finalized; and potential impacts new flood maps might have on economic development. This hearing provided an opportunity for the subcommittee to evaluate mapping methodologies and map dispute resolution mechanisms, hear suggestions for improved outreach to local residents and stakeholders, and determine options for local governments to finance levee inspections and repairs.

Witnesses

Panel 1

  • The Honorable  Jo-Ellen Darcy
    Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
    U.S. Department of the Army
    Download Testimony (94k)
  • Sandra Knight
    Deputy Assistant Administrator, Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration
    Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    Download Testimony (270k)

Panel 2

  • The Honorable  Bob Mehlhoff
    District 26
    Montana House of Representatives
    Download Testimony (71k)
  • Dr.  David Maidment
    Director of the Center for Research in Water Resources & the Hussein M. Alharthy Centennial Chair in Civil Engineering
    The University of Texas at Austin
    Download Testimony (88k)
  • Sam Riley Medlock
    Policy Counsel, Association of State Floodplain Managers
    Member, National Committee on Levee Safety
    Download Testimony (112k)
  • Robert Rash
    Chief Executive Officer & Chief Engineer
    St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas
    Download Testimony (56k)
  • Dr.  Joseph Suhayda
    Interim Director, Louisiana State University Hurricane Center
    Chairman, Independent Technical Review Committee, FEMA/USACE Louisiana Storm Surge Study
    Download Testimony (41k)