An Examination of FEMA's Limited Role in Local Land Use Development Decisions

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Wednesday, September 21, 2016 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446

This is a hearing of the Full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Summary of Subject Matter
Official Hearing Transcript

Witness List:

  • Mr. Michael Grimm, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency | Wrtitten Testimony
  • Ms. Chris Shirley, Natural Hazards and Floodplain Specialist, Department of Land Conservation and Development, State of Oregon | Written Testimony
  • The Honorable Denny Doyle, Mayor, City of Beaverton, OR | Written Testimony
  • The Honorable Heather Carruthers, Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners, Monroe County, Florida; on behalf of the National Association of Counties | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Jon Chandler, Chief Executive Officer, Oregon Home Builders Association; on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders | Written Testimony


  • Shuster and Barletta Opening Statements
    Full Committee Hearing on “An Examination of FEMA's Limited Role in Local Land Use Development Decisions”
    September 21, 2016
    (Remarks as Prepared)

    Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)
    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

    Today’s hearing will focus on two important issues in particular.  The first is the extent of FEMA’s authorities to implement the National Flood Insurance Program, and the second is the national implications of FEMA’s implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program.

    The Committee has worked this Congress to understand what is driving the rise in disaster costs and losses, including particular policies that may not make much sense or may be rewarding bad behavior.


    As we have seen recently with the flooding in Louisiana and right in my home district in Connellsville and Bullskin Township, the Flood Insurance Program is an important part of preparing communities for the flood risks they face.  We know that smart mitigation practices save the American taxpayer at least four dollars for every one dollar invested.

    It is important that local land use and development decisions ultimately reside with local officials who understand the risks and challenges of a particular area.  Additionally, it is critical that federal agencies understand the limitations of their authorities and work within those authorities.


    Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA)
    Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management

    Since the beginning of the 114th Congress, we have been exploring the rising costs of disasters – in terms of both the loss of property and human life.  At our first hearing in the 114th Congress, I stated that my top emergency management priority was pursuing disaster legislation that will save lives, lower costs, and launch a comprehensive review of federal disaster policy and the rising costs of disasters.

    Early last year, Ranking Member Carson and I introduced the FEMA Disaster Assistance Reform Act to call for the first comprehensive assessment of disaster costs and losses in over 20 years.

    One of the most important pieces of our county’s disaster assistance policy is linked to the National Flood Insurance Program, the NFIP.  So, today’s hearing focusing on FEMA’s authorities to implement the NFIP and the extent those authorities can impact local land use and development decisions, is a critical element of that discussion.

    I thank Ranking Member DeFazio for bringing this issue to the forefront so that we could bring the right people together to help us understand how some of the challenges being faced in Oregon will impact the entire nation.  I look forward to hearing from FEMA, the state and local officials, and our representative from the National Homebuilders Association, about their current challenges and concerns regarding these issues.

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