Kiggans, Colleagues Work to Keep Shoreline Communities Safe

Jun 10, 2024
Environment
Press

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) announced she has joined Congressman Greg Murphy (NC-03) in introducing the Prevent Environmental Hazards Act, legislation that would expand the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover long-term erosion and advance collapse payments. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia is regularly struck by hurricanes and tropical storms, with shoreline communities being deeply affected by flooding in past and recent years. Virginia’s coastal zone includes 5,000 miles of tidal shoreline and is home to nearly 60% of Virginia’s population total. 

“Preserving Virginia’s beautiful coastline and the many homes and businesses on our shores is critical for our environment and our economy,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “I am proud to help introduce legislation to adjust the National Flood Insurance Program to account for chronic erosion so we can help keep our shoreline communities safe and thriving for decades to come. I thank Congressman Murphy for his dedication to this important issue and look forward to working with him to move our bipartisan bill forward.”

Currently, the NFIP only covers flood damages, excluding homes that collapse post-flood, and standard homeowners’ insurance does not include shoreline erosion damage. This prevents homeowners from accessing the benefits of the NFIP until a full collapse, which can often result in public health, safety, and environmental issues. The Prevent Environmental Hazards Act would correct the ambiguous language in the NFIP to allow more homeowners the opportunity to use this vital program.

Specifically, the Prevent Environmental Hazards Act would: 

  • Authorize NFIP payouts for structures condemned due to chronic erosion or unusual flooding.
  • Allow advance payouts for demolition or relocation: up to 40% of the home’s value or $250,000.
  • Limit payouts to 40% if owners neglect to act before a collapse.
  • Reduce confusion in attributing damage to specific floods.
  • Encourage proactive demolition or relocation to prevent collapses and reduce cleanup costs.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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