Monday, June 4, 2012

NFIP two month extension-Impact on 2nd homes!

See: The Office of the Federal Register has assigned law numbers to the following bill(s) approved by the President: H.R. 5740 / Public Law 112-123 To extend the National Flood Insurance Program, and for other purposes. (May 31, 2012; 126 Stat. 365; 2 pages) This short extension also contains an increase in flood insurance rates to full actuarial rates for second homes over 4 years at 25% per year. I tried to get a total second home cutoff of federal flood insurance and will continue to try to do so. I also would prohibit federal disaster relief for second homes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is a Framework?

The various frameworks mandated under PPD-8 and elsewhere continue to struggle towards finality with an announced deadline of June 30th at the White House. So the word "framework" largely undefined will be the principal contribution towards planning and preparedness of the Obama 1st term (assuming a second one occurs! The first so-called National Framework was the spring 2008 issuance of the National Response Framework issued by the Bush Administration reflecting supposedly the lessons learned and correcting problems in the NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN issued final final in April 2005 and never fully implemented before Hurricane Katrina occurred. A brief history of that effort appears in Claire B. Rubin's first and second edition of her book--EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT-The American Experience issued under the auspices of PERI--now largely defunct. A more detailed examination of this evolution will be available this fall from the Institute for Naval Proceedings in a book principally written and edited by John F. Morton. The bottom line is that the so-called FRAMEWORKS were designed to kick off detailed plans, SOP's, Concept of Operations and other documents. With the 15 original scenarios now consolidate to eight (8)or less, none of which deal with critical infrastructure failures from whatever the cause, the result is chaos and little common understanding of what exactly can be expected from the federal government in almost any probable scenario and certainly not in any catastrophic event context. So drafts of the FRAMEWORKS incorporating public comments have now been issued. Finalization by review or signature by President Obama is unknown but I suspect it is the next Administration that will finalize while the Obama Administration and the NEW FEMA hope and pray that the "big one" does not occur before the election. Time will tell!

Monday, May 21, 2012

NRC and NEI and Fukishima

The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] has in fact registered that Fukishima may directly and indirectly threaten the nuclear power industry that is regulated by the NRC. Offsite safety issues, which should involve FEMA due to its assigned tasks going back to President James Early Carter as the expert judges of offsite safety considerations but does not has left NRC to deal with the issues arising out of Fukishima. All repeat all nuclear power reactors are NOW shut down in Japan and with a tense summer facing the Japanese over brownouts or worse as they shut off 30% of their energy supply by shutting the reactors it will be quite interesting to see what happens. In the meantime, the NEI [Nuclear Enterprise Institute] continues to launch a daily stream of "Be happy, don't worry" press releases over US impacts and even Japanese impacts of the Fukishima event. The potential for further problems from Reactor #4 at Dai Ichi seems to be the dominant issue with some experts expecting further dire outcomes from that reactor. NEI was of course the Edison Electric Institute but changed its names over a decade ago. It remains the "trade association" for the nuclear power industry. All in all since March 11th, 2011, when the earthquake and tsunami hit in Japan the fallout from the event grows daily in Japan and elsewhere. The trend line for further problems in nuclear power is up not down IMO. And waste storage and uranium supplies over the rest of the century continue to be problematic. Andy Mitchell continues to run the TECH HAZARDS programs in FEMA. I recently posted on on the history of E.O. 12657 published in November 1988 and requiring FEMA to prepare for the contingency that STATES and their local governments fail to adquately plan or prepare for a core melt accident, OR RESPOND! Meaning the STATES and/or their local governments fail to respond adequately. The NRC used its RASCAL modeling system to model the Fukishim event and recommend a 50 mile evacuation zone from the reactors. IF FEMA were forced to adopt a 50 mile EPZ by NRC it would in fact create absolute chaos in that program. The REPP [radiological emergency preparedness program] continues to be unable to face the advent of social media 2.0 on its various preparedness programs. With the JIC now at the White House in large scale events, few will be understanding of why that is a disaster in itself. Still, President Obama may just escape from office by defeat by not having any large scale catastrophic events [other than those led by Wall Street] during his time in office. His basic strategy in HAITI--ignore HAITI. His basic strategy in FUKISHIMA--ignore Fukishima. So far due to the incompetence of the MSM it has succeeded and neither appear to be election issues.

Reminder-My other blogs!

I continue to use my FACEBOOK page as my third blog. Also continue to post on Also continue to post comments on blog.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Expiration of NFIP and Reform

The NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program codified at 42 USC 4001 and following] will expire the end of May. It probably will be extended but a single legislative change could reform the program adequately for many years. Sales of insurance could be conducted only in mapped areas under the NFIP. This would require the following language to be inserted in any appropriate place in the statute: National Flood Insurance availability: Insurance under the NFIP will only be made available after December 31, 2012, in areas designated as numbered or unnumbered A or V zones on NFIP maps. This would help to ensure that further taxpayer subsidy of the NFIP are unnecessary. This seemingly simple change which conforms to the original statutory intent would have numerous implications that I leave to others to discern.

Monday, April 16, 2012

PDM--Predisaster Mitigation Goes Bye bye!

The FY 2013 Obama Administration requests no funding for predisaster mitigation. I have learned that HILL staff working for the appropriations committee do not intend to reverse that decision. Whatever the benefits of predisaster mitigation for an agency working resilience issues and whole of community issues this is tragic.

FEMA is now almost completely a response organization trying to perfect handing out monies and info with some expedition. The fact that much of this activity will be lost in the next disaster does not seem to both the leadership.

FEMA's real job, a tough one is to reduce disaster outlays, not increase them. Too bad neither the Congress, the Administration, or FEMA's leadership understands that fact.

As currently administered, disaster relief and flood insurance are aggravating the future flood losses IMO.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Leaders and Lawyers in FEMA!

I was a member of the FEMA General Counsel office from 1979-1999 when I retired. I have posted on my other blog at an article about the SALT effort in the current OCC.

Some background: Of the five General Counsels I worked with only two could be characterized as activists. The others lawyered carefully and defensively which was good but really only served to provide rationales for inaction to the FEMA leadership.

I often said that if I was made the GC I would only issue the NO opinions while all those working for me could issue the YES opinions. I was also never allowed to guide the legal direction of the statute that gave the widest discretion to FEMA, specifically the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288]that was superseded in part, revised in part, and supplemented in part by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [Public Law 100-707] both codified in Title 42 of the US Code starting at Section 5121.

Oddly perhaps only two of the Directors of FEMA I served under were activists, specifically Lewis O. Guiffrida and James Lee Witt. They did not exactly overlap the activists lawyer General Counsel's willing to say yes.

But I am glad to see the SALT effort being made by current Chief Counsel Brad Keiserman.

This October 1st I will have been retired 13 years from FEMA. In that time I have had only one official call back to provide some factual information and that concerned the so-called FAST BREAKER nuclear accident/incident at a power reactor. I stated then as now that FEMA's REPP did NOT take into account that event nor did NRC's regulatory efforts.

Perhaps Lessons Learned from FUKISHIMA will change that conclusion.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Executive Order 12919 rescinded by new EO!

Executive Order 12919 issued in June 1994 and which replaced EO 10480 has been rescinded by an Executive Order issued Friday by the President. The new Order will have a number assigned by NARA this week.
It is not a significant change except it repairs the Presidential delegation it represents to directly place obligations on the Department of Homeland Security as opposed to the Administrator FEMA.
More importantly it continues to delegate authority to multiple agencies and departments, including the Commerce Department which is threatened by a proposed Presidential reorganization.