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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, February 9, 2015

Senators question legality of executive order on flood risk management standards

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

Senator David Vitter (R-La) joined a group of Senators led by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss) in asking President Obama to provide information on Executive Order 13690, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and a process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” According to the senators, this “far-reaching executive order” set federal flood risk standards, violating legal restrictions set by Congress in December 2014.

In a letter, the Senators ask President Obama to name the individuals and groups involved in developing the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that he implemented through Executive Order 13690. The letter is signed by Cochran, Vitter, and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Roy Blunt (R-Mo), John Bozeman (R-Ark), and Bill Cassidy (R-La).

“President Obama is developing a track record of issuing illegal executive orders,” Vitter said. “These standards will have huge impacts on folks across Louisiana, and could lead to unaffordable flood insurance rates. We need to make sure that they’re legal—which means making sure Louisianians have a voice in this decision.”

Executive Order. FFRMS requires the adoption of “the most recent science on expected sea-level rise and take into account the impacts of climate change” to create higher base flood level elevations for federally funded investments. The provision was added to PL.113-235 due to concerns that Congress and the public should be allowed to weigh the significant economic, policy, and budgetary consequences of FFRMS.

The recently enacted FY2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (Public Law 113-235) “clearly” states that the Administration must solicit and consider input from governors, mayors, and other stakeholders before implementing a new FFRMS, said the Senators. Therefore, the legality of the executive order must be called into question—in issuing the executive order, the President defied earlier requests from lawmakers who had asked that the FFRMS be halted because its development was being conducted with little transparency or input from the public or lawmakers.

MainStory: TopStory FloodInsurance

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