A Flood of Confusion

Confusion is still swirling about regarding the potential impact of the recent presidential order on Federal Flood Risk Management Standards (FFRMS) – and NAHB has been testifying at hearings, making our members’ voices heard atlistening sessions, talking up federal officials, and most recently, submitting official comments.

The Administration has consistently said it wants to ensure that federally funded construction projects — highways and water treatment plants, for example — are sited, designed and constructed to withstand the potential future effects climate change including more frequent and severe storms and flooding events: a logical goal.

However, as NAHB’s comment letter explains, the President chose to amend a nearly 40-year-old Executive Order to now make sure that federal permitting programs such as wetlands and stormwater permits, federal assistance in the form of grants, loans, and even housing assistance programs like FHA mortgages comply with floodplain management requirements.

As NAHB’s comments explain in detail, home builders are concerned that this change means that NAHB members and other landowners could find their own private land development projects affected by this new floodplain definition and be subject to corresponding permitting and regulatory obligations.

Now, an interagency taskforce called the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), is charged with finalizing the FFRMS guidelines. Once the MitFLG is finished, all federal agencies will begin the process of reviewing their permitting and other programs to ensure compliance.

NAHB staff will continue to monitor HUD, the Corps of Engineers and other key federal agencies to see how they’ll implement the FFRMS guidelines and how their federal permitting and housing programs might be affected. For more information, contact Owen McDonough, Program Manager for Environmental Policy at 800-368-5242 x8662.

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