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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: August 25, 2016 02:45 PM
From: Senator David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution asking Congress and the President to review changes to federal floodplain management standards
In the near future, I will introduce a resolution calling on Congress and the President to review changes that were made to federal floodplain management standards by executive order in January 2015.

While the changes to these standards are designed to enhance the safety and protection of citizens during floods and to diminish the risk of flood loss, the modifications that were made to the floodplain management standards have negatively impacted our communities with regard to redevelopment and repurposing of older, blighted properties.

Under the executive order, federal agencies must apply the standards to all federal actions including:
  • Federally approved permits
  • Federally backed home loans and flood insurance regulations
  • Many Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, including the Low-income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program
As you know, blight is a problem in many Pennsylvania communities. Old factories and warehouses sit empty and decaying. For example, there is an old factory in the Borough of Port Carbon in Schuylkill County that has generated developer interest for a senior housing project. However, part of it sits in the floodplain. Now, as a result of the changes to the federal standards, flood insurance is required, making the project cost prohibitive. As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is no longer accepting applications for buildings that are located in floodplains for the LIHTC program. This decision will have a negative impact on many of our older communities searching for creative ways to deal with abandoned buildings.

My resolution will ask Congress and the President to thoroughly review the changes to the floodplain management standards and to determine if exceptions to prospective building projects should be made so applications can be submitted to PHFA for consideration.

Introduced as SR421