“Watch What I Do, Not What I Say”

In Trump’s mania to obliterate all Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration has revoked rules that would hold infrastructure projects to a higher standard that would mitigate the risk of flooding damage.

“The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard—which President Barack Obama signed into effect in January 2015—set new goals for defining flood plains and mitigating the risk of construction over them. The standard was coordinated by the National Security Council and involved the input of governors, mayors, and other stakeholders. The Obama-era rule amended a 1977 executive order on floodplain management by asking agencies to seek a “practicable alternative” to any projects on floodplains that would have either short-term or long-term adverse effects.
The Obama rule gave federal agencies three ways to address flood risk in design and construction in floodplains: using methods informed by climate science, building two feet above the 100-year flood elevation, or building to the 500-year flood elevation.”The new rules wouldn’t have helped the current disaster in Houston. But they would have guided the rebuilding effort, so the city would not simply replace what have proved to be highly vulnerable infrastructure with equally vulnerable roads, highways, and bridges.

Trump is making a trip to Texas, no doubt to attempt to show how in touch he is with the crisis. A more enduring statement would be re-instituting the infrastructure rule.

If the Texas governor and Congressional delegation had any sense, that’s what they’d ask for. I’m not counting on it.


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