Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

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Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

While increasing premium rates is an important step towards improving the program,there are equity issues to consider for those who are less able to afford it. Amajor gap in the reformed program is the failure to address the affordability of floodinsurance for the primary homes of middle- and lower-income families. Not only dothey need help to protect their most valuable assets but they and their communitieswill recover more quickly from disasters if they’re insured as opposed to receivingtaxpayer-funded Disaster Relief capped at $31,900 per household, though theaverage payment is several thousand dollars. A means-tested voucher program couldhelp ensure this protection while signaling the long-term risk of remaining in theircurrent location. The legislation calls for a study of affordability issues.Rehabilitate flood control infrastructureClimate change will bring heavier precipitation in the Northeast and upperMidwest, increasing the likelihood of floods. 184 A recent CAP report, “EnsuringPublic Safety by Investing in Our Nation’s Critical Dams and Levees,” documentedthe crumbling of dams and levees—our flood control infrastructure. 185The report warned:If we do not make changes soon to the way we monitor and maintain ournation’s dams and levees, catastrophes … will continue to occur—likely withgreater frequency. The combination of extreme weather and flooding resultingfrom global warming and our aging dam and levee infrastructure means thatwithout action, thousands of lives and communities are at risk and avoidablepublic costs will rise.To begin to address this threat, Congress must promptly reauthorize the NationalDam Safety Program and should also create a similar National Levee SafetyProgram. It must invest at least $1 billion annually to rehabilitate our rundowndam and levee infrastructure.Increase community resilienceIn order to be prepared for the increase in frequency and/or intensity of extremeweather due to climate change, we must invest in “pre-disaster mitigation” measures.They should follow a bottom-up approach, with local communities evaluatingtheir risk from extreme weather events and developing resiliency plans withtechnical and financial support from the federal government.32 Center for American Progress | Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

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