Representative Angie Craig Leads Bipartisan Effort to Fund Natural Disaster Mitigation Program
WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, U.S. Representative Angie Craig urged House appropriators to fully fund a new disaster mitigation program to help communities across the country prepare for and rebuild from extreme weather events. The revolving loan program was established by the Safeguarding Tomorrow Though Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM Act) after former President Trump signed into law the Senate counterpart to Craig’s bipartisan legislation earlier this year. Craig was joined in sending the letter by Representatives Cheri Bustos, (D-IL), John Katko (R-NY) and Rodney Davis (R-IL).
In the letter, addressed to the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Homeland Security budget, Craig and her colleagues pressed appropriators to fully fund the program at the authorized level of $100 million in fiscal year 2022.
Prior to enactment of the STORM Act, only one FEMA program was eligible to provide communities with resources to implement proactive efforts to prevent future damage and that program is restrictive in its eligible activities. The new revolving loan fund would allow states to bring low-interest loans to counties and cities for disaster mitigation projects of varying types that creates the flexibility local governments need to respond to mounting disaster impacts. Repayment of the loans would fund subsequent projects.
Loans would be available for projects that minimize the costs and risks associated with wildfires, earthquakes, floods, storm surges and other events deemed catastrophic by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program will not only reduce the financial burden of recovery on local governments – but allow communities to invest in resilient infrastructure that can withstand severe weather events and natural disasters.
A full copy of the letter is available here and copied below:
Dear Chairwoman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann,
As you begin to craft Homeland Security appropriations bill, we respectfully urge you to fully fund the newly enacted Safeguarding Tomorrow Though Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM Act) at $100 million in fiscal year 2022.
Last Congress, the STORM Act was signed into law. This program is similar to the EPA revolving loan program that has been very successful over the last 40 years in financing water related projects. With your support, the STORM Act is positioned to provide similar low interest long term loan financing to states and localities to support making all types of infrastructure more resilient including the use of natural solutions.
As one example, the flood mitigation industry estimates there are 3-4 million older high flood risk buildings with rapidly rising flood insurance premiums in US flood zones. Banks have estimated the value of these assets at $1.5 trillion and around $600 billion will be required to retrofit, elevate or dry flood proof them. The retrofit adaptation of the built environment and the deployment of natural infrastructure at scale along with making built infrastructure more resilient will create tens of thousands of good professional jobs in across multiple sectors. The issue has always been the lack of financing for these projects and the STORM Act is the answer.
With your support, we can mitigate these flooding risks and those posed from other natural disasters by fully funding the program’s authorized level of $100 million in FY2022.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.