The tragic and costly impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey have renewed criticism and concern over President Donald Trumpâs decision to revoke an executive order establishing a federal flood risk management standard.
The order, signed on Aug. 15, revoked an executive order signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 30, 2015, to establish the standard and a stakeholder input process.
Laura Lightbody, director of the flood-prepared communities initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, on Tuesday said the organization was âvery disappointedâ by the repeal of the Obama executive order, which would have ensured that public infrastructure such as utilities, hospitals, roads and bridges developed with federal dollars would have been built to higher standards to withstand flood and incorporate the best science to minimize flooding risks.
âThat really undermines the nationâs ability to be ready for the next Hurricane Harvey,â she said of the repeal.
The Obama executive order stated: âIt is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding. These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.â
President Obamaâs executive order amended a 1977 executive order on floodplain management that required federal agencies to avoid the long- and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative, according to Obamaâs order.
The 2015 executive order built on an…