President Obama on Friday signed an executive director requiring all roads, buildings and other pieces of infrastructure paid for with federal money to be built in areas with less risk of flooding.
With the order, Mr. Obama established the “Federal Flood Risk Management Standard,” which makes the case that climate change will make floods more common and much more destructive.
“These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security,” the president said in the order. “The federal government must take action, informed by the best-available and actionable science, to improve the nation’s preparedness and resilience against flooding.”
Moving forward, all federal agencies and departments must “use data and methods informed by best-available, actionable climate science,” and build either two feet above the 100-year flood elevation or to the 500-year flood elevation, the White House said.
All critical buildings, such as hospitals and evacuation centers, must be built at least three feet above the 100-year flood elevation, the White House said.
The administration argues that the new steps are necessary because of climate change.
“As the planet continues to warm, impacts like rising sea levels, intensified storms, and heavy downpours are contributing to an increased risk of flooding. President Obama is committed to ensuring that American communities thrive in the face of a changing climate,” the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality said in a statement.