WASHINGTON – Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced today that her staff will meet with Federal Emergency Management Administration officials and local leaders to help ensure that the next phase of flood map updating in Maine is completed with local input, coordination and a spirit of collaboration and openness.

FEMA, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Homeland Security Committee, recently published preliminary flood maps for the towns of South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Harpswell, and others.

Senator Collins said she expects FEMA to work closely with local communities and town officials throughout the process. The Senator insisted on the collaborative process with the City of Portland that led to important changes to recently proposed flood maps based on additional scientific data provided by the City.

Senator Collins said FEMA officials will be available to meet with local officials from the towns of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth on Monday, July 12, at 10 a.m. at the South Portland Community Center located at 21 Nelson Road in South Portland.

A second meeting, for other affected communities, will be held in the City of Portland also on Monday, July 12, at 1 p.m. The exact location of that meeting will be announced shortly. City of Portland officials, who will host the meeting, also have offered to speak briefly with neighboring town officials in order to share their experience and knowledge regarding the FEMA process for updating flood maps.

"FEMA’s flood maps for the nation must be updated, but it is absolutely critical that FEMA work with local communities, hand-in-hand, to produce accurate flood maps based on the best available data,” said Senator Collins. “We saw how effectively this partnership worked with the City of Portland. As a result of the collaboration that followed, we saw improvements, based on science, that were made to the flood maps for Portland Harbor.

"Although the results of collaboration with FEMA may not always change the final flood maps, I will continue to insist that FEMA work closely with local communities in this process, just as I did with the City of Portland. I urge local communities to provide relevant data to FEMA during the notice and comment period applicable to the new preliminary maps and, as necessary, during any subsequent appeal process. As Ranking Member of FEMA’s oversight committee in the Senate, I will continue to work to ensure that the federal agency performs its mapping responsibilities in a collaborative partnership with all affected Maine communities."