The regulations, proposed Monday, stem from an updated Floodplain Management Executive Order issued by President Obama in January 2015.
Other agencies, including HUD, are expected to issue their own FFRMS implementation regulations in the coming months.
E.O. 13690 created the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) which requires a higher level of flood protection for federally funded projects to protect taxpayer investment in light of climate change and increasing flood risk. All federal agencies must update their regulations and policies to implement the FFRMS.
In response to NAHB efforts last spring, the FEMA proposal clarifies that the FFRMS only applies to “FEMA Federally Funded Projects,” defined as “actions where FEMA funds are used for new construction, substantial improvement, or to address substantial damage to structures or facilities.”
FEMA has also made it clear that the new standard does not apply to the non-grant components of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), meaning it does not apply to the availability or cost of flood insurance policies. Also, the proposed rule does not have any effect on NFIP flood insurance maps.
However, post-disaster assistance for new construction or substantial improvement funded through FEMA assistance programs, including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, will likely be required to comply with the FFRMS and build to the higher standard.
FEMA’s proposed rule is open for public comment until October 21, 2016. For more information, contact Environmental Policy Program Director Owen McDonough at 202-266-8662 or Federal Legislative Director Billie Kaumaya at 202-266-8570.