PARSIPPANY — Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11, chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology’s Environment Subcommittee, secured House passage of two bipartisan bills she introduced to address flooding, the most widespread of all weather-related natural disasters in New Jersey and across the United States.
This legislative package will head to the President’s desk for his signature after Senate action later this week, according to a press release issued Thursday, December 15.
“Unexpected severe rainfall and flooding are costly and upend the lives of New Jersey families. Recent extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida only underscore the importance of an effective understanding and response to high water,” said Rep. Sherrill. “These common-sense bills will protect lives, homes, and neighborhoods by improving forecasting and communication of extreme weather events to serve at-risk areas better. I am proud we were able to advance this legislation for New Jerseyans and all Americans who face dangers from these natural disasters.”
“Updating the data we rely on to determine flood elevations and manage the stormwater runoff will help flood-prone communities to protect their homes and businesses better, enabling New Jersey and our nation to become more resilient to the increasing extreme weather we are experiencing,” said Commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Shawn M. LaTourette.
“Accurate precipitation data are among the most overlooked and highest reward opportunities to ensure our cities and towns are built for a future of more frequent and intense rainfall,” said Melissa Roberts, executive director of the American Flood Coalition.
“We commend Representative Sherrill for her leadership to enact bipartisan legislation to provide consistently updated, forward-looking data to inform better and protect communities on the front lines of flooding.”
“Passage of these two bills now will ultimately save thousands of lives and untold billions of dollars in taxpayer and private sector losses from flood disasters going forward,” said Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), which represents over 20,000 state and local floodplain officials and other floodplain management professionals, “ASFPM strongly supports both the FLOODS Act and the PRECIP Act to update and modernize basic data and information systems that underpin flood risk management efforts across the nation.”
The Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act establishes a National Integrated Flood Information System to coordinate and integrate flood research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It also establishes partnerships with higher education institutions to improve total water predictions. It establishes a committee to ensure coordination of federal departments with joint or overlapping responsibilities in water management. The bill is designed to improve flood risk communications, including flood watches and warnings.