Tester renews push for long-term flood insurance plan

Senator says bipartisan plan offers Montanans ‘certainty in the face of risk’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is forging ahead on a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program that protects Montana families and communities along lakes, rivers and streams.

The National Flood Insurance Program, which was established in 1968 to insure property owners in flood-heavy regions, is set to expire at the end of this month.

Tester sponsored a bipartisan measure to extend the program through the end of the year and today held a hearing of his Senate Economic Policy Subcommittee where he called on his colleagues to reauthorize the program for the long-term.

“We’ve been down this road before, and we’ve seen how unproductive and destructive lapses of the program can be,” Tester said.  “The unprecedented flooding in the Missouri River basin at this time last year further reminds us of the urgency of passing a long-term reauthorization that offers Americans – and Montanans – certainty in the face of risk.”

Tester’s push for long-term reauthorization would also require FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to work together to ensure that levees built by the Corps are able to be certified through inspections already performed by the Corps.  Without this provision, some Montana communities would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to certify these levees.

“Montana communities have been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to certify levees that the Corps designed, built and already inspected,” said Todd Klietz, the Montana Floodplain Administrator for Missoula.  “We are glad to see the Senate taking a proactive position to put the federal responsibility for certifying federal levees back where it belongs.”

Tester’s efforts have the backing of stakeholders from the financial, housing and environmental community who are strongly pushing for long-term reauthorization and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program.