FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 10, 2019
SMARTERSAFER RELEASES US DISASTER POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Report From National Coalition Outlines Rational Approach to Federal Disaster Policy, Preparing the Nation for an Increase in Severe Weather Events
WASHINGTON, DC – SmarterSafer.org – a national coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations, and mitigation advocates – today released “A Road Map for Successful US Disaster Policy.”
The congressional guide provides a more rational approach to federal disaster policy that will save taxpayer dollars, protect the environment, and better prepare Americans for the risks they face now – and the risks natural disasters will pose in the future.
As disasters become more frequent and severe, natural disaster policy must be updated to meet the nation’s evolving needs. Disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and flooding put much of the nation at risk and “A Road Map for Successful US Disaster Policy” highlights the need to do more to prepare for severe weather and natural disasters with programs like the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The guide outlines strategies to reform the NFIP, including updating mapping, ensuring mitigation, and giving Americans greater access to much-needed insurance protection.
“As extreme weather events become more common and more severe, Congress must take steps to ensure that the NFIP better protects those at risk and the ecosystem at large,” said Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, Coastal Preservation Manager at the Surfrider Foundation. “Legislators must come together to develop fiscally sound, environmentally responsible disaster policy. We hope that lawmakers will look to the congressional guide as a framework for future legislation.”
While not all disasters are preventable, Congress must focus on implementing protective measures to reduce vulnerabilities and limit damage. Current federal disaster policy emphasizes short-term recovery, which is both ineffective and needlessly expensive, and neglects more prudent long-term mitigation efforts.
“From hurricanes to megafires to floods, Americans are facing unprecedented disasters and need their leaders to support resilience and preparedness. These recommendations offer a comprehensive path forward to better prepare communities for disasters,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Investing in proactive solutions that anticipate future risks will make local communities safer, while improving the stability and financial security of our nation’s disaster preparedness programs.”
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition that is made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that
promote public safety. The coalition believes that the Federal government has a role in encouraging and helping homeowners to undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard their homes against natural disasters. At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers. Measures such as subsidizing artificially low rates for homeowners’ insurance policies help to encourage construction in environmentally sensitive and unsafe areas. The coalition is working to ensure that Congress does not incentivize people to live in harm’s way in places prone to hurricanes and floods.