Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In two years the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 will be 40!

Well the 13th short term extension until September 30, 2012 is now law. Congrats to Congress for failing to understand what it has wrought.

As 2011 winds up the real question is what did the dramatic changes wrought by that 1973 legislative enactment accomplish for mitigation and the closely related mandatory "mitigation" placed in the Federal Disaster Relief Act of 1974, Public Law 93-288? Both laws were designed in tandem to hopefully reduce disaster outlays over time and use a quasi-insurance mechanism to make the communities with flood plains bear the full costs of that occupancy, in particular for placing houses in the flood plain.

I think it is plain that after almost 40 years part of the problem is that FEMA did not get the message when it was formed that it real job was preventing disasters and doing mitigation not creating a moral hazard with "free" disaster relief as was the worry of Senator William Proxmire and others in not opposing the creation of FEMA. There were no ATMs at the time in 1978 and 1979 but many worried that FEMA would just become another focus of federal largesse largely creating even more problems.

So as the year winds up announcing that the year 2012 will be the year flood insurance and federal disaster relief are reformed. How will be explained in a series of posts although much has already been laid out for the last few years here in this blog.

So here is the new FEMA mantra: Prevent Disasters Don't Promote them!

And as a subset further analysis will be made on how FEMA has in fact through its policies and bureacratic dishonesty undermined the STATES and their local governments in their preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

Hoping Congressional hearings will delve into these concerns this spring even as the spring runoff occurs.