Why? According to Joe Scata of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which was issued via Executive Order 13690, is one of the most far-reaching federal policies on climate change adaptation. The FFRMS was developed by the president’s State, Local, and Tribal Task Force on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience and underwent an extensive public comment process with listening sessions held throughout the country.”
The new policy makes no changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, which covers Americans in flood-prone areas like the Mississippi Gulf Coast with federally backed insurance if they meet federal risk minimization standards. But the new FFRMS will apply to grants the program provides, which will impact construction in those areas.
As Cochran has noted, the new standard represents a major shift in federal policy. The Federal Emergency Management Administration circulated a memo three years ago stating the agency’s intent to take global warming into account when preparing for severe storms. But other federal agencies continued to rely on historic data rather than future projections. The new policy will change that.