SmarterSafer.org on the Start of Hurricane Season: A “Beach House Bailout” is not the Answer; State and Federal Level Need Improved Mitigation Efforts and Sensible Policies to Handle Disasters

(Washington, DC) – SmarterSafer.org today used the start of Hurricane season to urge Congress that passing a “Beach House Bailout” is not the solution should a storm devastate the properties of Florida homeowners.” Instead, it urged lawmakers to consider common sense disaster and mitigation policies at the State and Federal levels to better prepare for disasters before they occur.

The Beach House Bailout” also known as the Homeowners’ Defense Act (H.R. 2555)introduced by Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL) would place the federal government on the hook to pay billions in taxpayer dollars and encourage development in environmentally sensitive areas.

“The beginning of hurricane season should remind us that helping people to strengthen their homes to withstand the effects of flooding and devastating storms would be a better federal policy response to address these risks. “The Homeowners’ Defense Act would have the perverse effect of subsidizing development in those coastal areas at greatest risk from the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and more intense hurricanes.” – Ed Hopkins, Director of the Environmental Quality Program at Sierra Club

“State and federal governments do have a role in helping people who legitimately can’t protect themselves against hurricanes. But government shouldn’t try to do this through expensive, wasteful, environmentally destructive, subsidy programs. Instead, the government should save taxpayer money by withdrawing development subsidies from disaster prone areas, supporting time-limited, means-tested mitigation programs, and making sure that people that choose to live in dangerous areas pay the costs of their decision.” – Eli Lehrer, National Director, Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate of the Heartland Institute.

As America enters Hurricane season, we understand the significant risks that Florida faces as a result of natural disasters. We agree that all US residents, including Floridians, should have access to adequate insurance so they can responsibly rebuild after a storm. However, the Homeowners’ Defense won’t likely be the result of Homeowner’s Defense Act. Instead we’ll see a spurring of even more environmentally-damaging and high-risk coastal development, especially in Florida — a State that needs to protect and restore the very critical coastal natural resources on which much of the State’s economy depends. Setting up the U.S. taxpayers to be the backstop of unstable state catastrophe insurance funds is almost certain to result in more, not less, damage to peoples’ homes, because it fundamentally undercuts needed and vital efforts to mitigate, control and reduce hurricane and storm risks. The effort to mitigate and reduce community risk becomes ever more important as hurricanes and storms grow in intensity due to the oceans warming from climate change,” said Vicki Deisner, Associated Director of National Water Resources Campaigns for the National Wildlife

SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse set of voices united to support environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety. The Coalition strongly opposes legislative proposals that encourage people to build homes in hurricane-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas by creating new programs that directly or indirectly subsidize their homeowner’s insurance.