Speed Reads

If it keeps on raining, levee's gonna break

Trump is reportedly planning to repeal Obama-era flood standards, possibly resulting in billions in damages

The White House is apparently moving ahead with plans to walk back Obama-era regulations that require public infrastructure and critical infrastructure be built several feet above the 100-year flood standards, Climatewire's Zack Colman reports. "The potential move comes as the [Trump] administration is proposing a $1 trillion build-out of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure over 10 years," Climatewire wrote of the rumors back in March. "Combined with the termination of the federal flood risk management standard, signed by former President [Barack] Obama in 2015, the construction boom could result in new roads that are susceptible to flood damage and taxpayer losses, some experts say."

The 2015 executive order was signed by Obama several years after Hurricane Sandy left the East Coast reeling from more than $50 billion in damages and following a concerning U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report that examined flood risks for the North Atlantic region. "The research explicitly took sea level rise induced by climate change into account, and finds that 'flood risk is increasing for coastal populations and supporting infrastructure,'" The Washington Post reports.

Obama's order requires public structures like subsidized housing or water treatment plants to be built at least 2 feet above the 100-year flood standard, whereas critical infrastructure, like hospitals, must be built 3 feet above that line.

Speaking about President Trump's plans to repeal Obama's executive order, Eli Lehrer of the libertarian R Street Institute told Climatewire: "This will inevitably expand the need for disaster aid, both to rebuild federal facilities likely to be destroyed, and to help people who would be lured into harm's way by dumb decisions by central planners."

Lehrer added: "So if President Trump is committed to fiscal responsibility, he really needs to take a close look at this. This will not result in smaller government." Read more about the executive order and Trump's plans to rescind it at Climatewire.