Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04) participated in today’s House Financial Services Subcommittee on reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In conjunction with the hearing, Congressman Palazzo issued the following statement:
“Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District is the only district representing the Mississippi Gulf Coast. FEMA has served as a partner to our state. South Mississippi has emerged stronger and more resilient since the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. Damage in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District was widespread. Thousands of businesses and billions of dollars in sales revenue were lost. Small businesses, the lifeblood of our economy, were wiped out along the coast and many more were damaged throughout the district,” Palazzo said.
“However, it was the spirit of our people that pulled us through. Our people are strong, resilient, and self-reliant. Their spirit has been an inspiration to us all, and that spirit remains the key to our recovery. Of particular note, I would like to recognize the stellar job our Mississippi National Guard did post-disaster. They provided a safe and secure environment for our citizens, soldiers and volunteers to work day after day until our traditional law enforcement could be mobilized,” Palazzo said.
“Unfortunately, some barriers to our full recovery still exist. The best example of this is residential and commercial insurance. Although, today’s hearing is focused on one aspect of our insurance challenges, I welcome the opportunity to share my concerns and listen to possible solutions today and in the future,” Palazzo added.
“The National Flood Insurance Program is critically important to South Mississippi and any area exposed to flood risk. As floods continue to be among the most costly natural disasters in the United States, I urge the committee to closely consider reforms offered by Administrator Fugate and to reauthorize the NFIP,” Palazzo said.
“I would be remised if I did not mention that the high cost of wind insurance is a major factor preventing Coastal residents from building homes and attracting new industry. I am committed to bipartisanship to see this issue through with the goal of providing Coastal residents with needed cost relief,” Palazzo said.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was scheduled to testify during today’s committee hearing. Due to the earthquake in Japan and the subsequent threat of Tsunami waves on the U.S. western shore, he was not able to make it. As a result, Congressman Palazzo submitted several questions for the record regarding FEMA’s effort to encourage flood mitigation and the newly defined Special Flood Hazard Area destination, which is causing a financial burden for many home and business owners in Mississippi.