Flood maps and climate change to be focus of House hearing

Oklahoma U.S. Reps. Frank Lucas and Kendra Horn will be among those in Congress this week exploring the issue of whether the National Flood Insurance Program should be reauthorized.

Both sit on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Rep. Lucas, a Republican is the ranking minority member while Congresswoman Horn is on the Democratic side.

The two also come from a state hit hard last year by flooding, especially in northern and eastern Oklahoma along the Arkansas River.

The hearing will focus on the federal government’s flood maps and Democrats want the review to emphasize the impact of climate change.

The Flood Insurance Program’s authorization ends Sept. 30 and according to reports, relies on often-outdated flood maps. Climate change proponents contend the old maps only make financial problems worse because of rising sea levels and natural disasters.

It comes down to a continuing disagreement over the impact of climate change.

Proposals to reform the program on both sides of Capitol Hill, including a bipartisan deal passed out of the House Financial Services Committee last year, would authorize money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to modernize those maps.

The Science panel will hear this week from Michael Grimm, an assistant administrator for FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, the agency that oversees the NFIP.

Lawmakers will also hear testimony from Mark Osler, senior adviser for coastal inundation and resilience at NOAA. Chad Berginnis, Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers will also testify.