The House Appropriations Committee has passed the fiscal year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill this last week. That bill, which does not yet have the authority of law, includes the following content regarding the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. If the bill passes the House, and then the Senate, and is approved the President, it would have the authority of law:

On January 30, 2015, the President issued Executive Order 13690 establishing a new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and amending Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management). The Administration describes it as furtherance of the President’s Climate Action Plan and as building on the work done by the interagency task force in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The Committee has heard numerous concerns about the new standard from many potentially-affected stakeholders. These concerns include the process by which the standard was developed, the lack of clarity as to which specific programs and activities will be affected, and the uncertainty related to how each agency will implement the new standard. The Committee takes these concerns seriously and will continue to closely monitor the Administration’s activities related to this new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard.

The new standard and draft revised guidelines for implementing Executive Order 11988 are currently out for public comment until early May 2015. Executive Order 13690 directs each agency to issue or amend existing regulations and procedures to comply with the order and to submit to the National Security Council staff within 30 days of the closing of the public comment period for the revised guidelines an implementation plan that contains milestones and a timeline for implementation of the executive order and the standard. The Corps is directed to submit this implementation plan to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 3 days after it has been submitted to the National Security Council staff.

As noted in previous posts, we have some significant concerns regarding the FFRMS and the draft guidelines. Previous letters from 33 members of the House of Representatives and California Senator Feinstein demonstrate similar concerns. But it now appears that Congress is willing to use legislation to make those concerns more well-known as well. We will continue to track this and share information as we get it.