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Hazards & Security

  • Natural Hazards Mitigation and Infrastructure Security

    Summary

    • ASCE supports various programs within the federal government with the mission of mitigating the impact of natural and man-made hazards. Through research and proper preparation, and increased emphasis on the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure, the loss of life, as well as economic losses and the costs to the taxpayer could be significantly reduced.
    • ASCE is a member of the broad-based BuildStrong Coalition which supports federal incentives to encourage states to voluntarily adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes for residential and commercial structures. This effort has been promoted through the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. Uniform statewide adoption and enforcement of model building codes has been proven to be the most effective tool to mitigate natural catastrophes.
    • ASCE is also a member of the Stafford Act Coalition, which focuses on issues related to disaster mitigation. 
    • ASCE is a member of the Flood Map Coalition, which works to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood mapping efforts.

    Activity in the 116th Congress 

    • Appropriations activity
    • Implementation of Disaster Recovery and Reform Act.  
    • FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expired on September 30, 2018; it is currently operating under a short-term extension through May 31, 2019. 

    Recent Success

    • In December 2018 Congress completed work in the Reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) (Public Law 115-307). The legislation made program reforms including expanding to the scope of the program to include increasing the resilience of communities, modernizing the language related to earthquake prediction and early warning systems, and enhancing cooperation between federal and state agencies. 
    • In 2015 Congress reauthorized the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) Public Law -114-52, however there was no provisions for funding in the legislation. 
    • In 2018, Congress also enacted the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA) (Public Law 115 -254) which Increases mitigation funding, improves federal/state coordination, and reforms disaster response and recovery funding. 
    • The Safe Building Code Incentive Act was enacted as part of the 2018 supplemental funding bill (Public Law 115-56) and provides incentives for states to adopt and enforce up-to-date building codes.  
    • A January 2018 National Institute of Building Sciences report found that every $1 in federal government agency hazard mitigation spending saves the nation $6 in future disaster costs. 
    • The FY18 omnibus contained $249.2 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant Program, which is nearly $150 million more than the FY17 enacted level. 
    • The FY18 omnibus also included $262.5 million for FEMA’s flood mapping and risk analysis program, a 47 percent increase from the FY17 enacted level. 

    ASCE Position

    • ASCE supports reauthorization and full funding of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, and the enactment of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act.
    • ASCE supports full funding for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program as created by the Stafford Act. The program provides vital support for a competitive grant program that allows state and local governments to mitigate the effects of a disaster before it occurs.
    • ASCE works closely with the BuildStrong Coalition to champion the implementation of up-to-date building codes. 
    • ASCE supports the the adoption of flood-risk management policies that provide for: a consistent definition of flood risk and an accepted framework for how risk should be estimated; effective and sustainable management of risks posed by floods to life safety, human health, economic activity, cultural heritage and the environment; collaborative risk sharing and risk management at all levels of government and by all stakeholders; risk informed communication, policies and funding priorities; and the use of natural processes to mitigate the consequences of flooding.

    Further information

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