Should the feds be liable for flooding during Hurricane Harvey?
A federal statute bars nearly all claims against the federal government for flooding. Victims of flooding from Hurricane Harvey seem to have found a loophole by claiming that their property was taken without just compensation by flooding. The facts are unusual, but the case raises some deep questions about financial responsibility for flood control. Here …CONTINUE READING
The 100-year flood and the 500-year flood are both very rough estimates.
My title is a little unfair. So far as I can tell, the people who are trying to figure out the 100-year or 500-year floods in various places are hard-working professionals, applying their expertise to a difficult problem. But there are a lot of uncertainties that get concealed behind the final numbers. The consequence is …CONTINUE READING
Congress apparently just couldn’t resist restoring subsidies for coastal homeowners.
The President has now signed an important modification of the flood insurance program. The changes are hard to understand, in part because the bill changed an earlier 2013 law that itself amended the basic statute. So you have to work through the whole sequence to see what is going on. Before I go into more …CONTINUE READING
Private flood control is no substitute for government action.
Last week, the NY Times had a story about Verizon’s new flood barrier for its Wall Street building, which is a designated landmark. On one level, it’s a pretty cool project — a portable barrier designed to keep out the water during a hundred-year storm (plus 2-feet for storm surge plus an extra foot to …CONTINUE READING
Time magazine reports: First came the Mississippi. Then the Missouri. Now the nation’s West waits as the mountain snowpack perches at 300% more than average and flood watches blanket the region. With minor flooding already hampering life in Montana, Wyoming and Utah, a sudden spike of warm temperature will send even more melting snow rushing …CONTINUE READING