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Senators pushing FEMA for change in flood modeling

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), backed by a bipartisan group of another 25 senators, is encouraging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to end its practice of ignoring some levees and flood control structures in cases where communities may be harmed by the lack of precision in new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

Led by Cochran, Wicker, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), the lawmakers sent a letter to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate requesting that FEMA end the use of “without levee” modeling methods that discount the existence of levees and flood control structures that need repairs or rectifying.

Communities along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and in the Mississippi Delta Region, among other areas of the state, could be affected by this request.

The senators asked Fugate to use his administrative authority to require FEMA, when requested by an affected community, to utilize more technical modeling methods that take into account the flood protection offered by existing flood control structures that have not been certified by FEMA. The Senators only discouraged the use of “without levee” modeling in cases where communities could be negatively impacted.

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