Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick: Feds should ‘slow down’ on costly flood-zone maps






Gov. Deval Patrick answers questions after announcing a $50 million investment for a statewide plan to address the impacts of climate change during a news conference at the New England Aquarium, today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

by: Matt Stout

Gov. Deval Patrick today threw his support behind the widening fight against new federal flood-zone maps that critics say will saddle Bay State residents with enormous insurance bills, saying he considers the matter a priority and urging the feds to “slow down.”
“FEMA has these new maps which go into effect really soon, and in some cases, are already being used by insurers as a model for their rates. And our appeal to FEMA is, slow down,” Patrick said today at the New England Aquarium, where he discussed details of new state climate-change programs including $40 million in grants for cities and towns.
“It’s not as though we’re saying it isn’t so,” Patrick added of the expected rising tides. “It’s ‘slow down.’ You’re going to have to phase this in, in the same way, frankly, that it’s going to take us some time to get a good plan.”
Patrick’s comments put him publicly in league with Attorney General Martha Coakley, House speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and other lawmakers who have rallied against the proposed changes. Coakley and DeLeo, for example, have filed a bill that could limit coastal homeowners’ insurance bills under the new federal guidelines. what coastal homeowners would have to pay under the new federal guidelines. Others are calling on Congress to delay implementation of the new maps.
Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan — who lawmakers say has conveyed the governor’s support at least privately until now — said he plans to meet with Massachusetts emergency-management officials on ways to limit new sky-high bills.
“It has obviously become a priority, and the governor has been very clear and is directing me to look for the relief in terms of implementation of the rates,” Sullivan said.
State Rep. Jim Cantwell (D-Marshfield), a leading critic of the reconfigured maps, called them “inaccurate” and said feds have grossly overestimated flood risk in certain parts of communities. Cantwell has repeatedly cited one constituent whose flood insurance bill would rise from $3,000 to $68,000 because of the new regulations.
“I live this. I know” the impact of climate change, the South Shore legislator said. “But the pendulum can’t swing so far right.”

Photo by: 

Angela Rowlings

Photo by: 

Angela Rowlings

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