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Bill to Enhance Federal Disaster Mitigation Programs for Vulnerable Communities Earns NSDC Support

June 14, 2022 | Cole Karr

NSDC is supporting legislation to boost FEMA hazard mitigation project funding in some of the nation’s most hazard-prone communities.

The Community Disaster Resilience Zones (CDRZ) Act works within the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, commonly referred to as the “Stafford Act,” to codify the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Risk Index for Natural HazardsThe index is a relatively new tool that scores each county and census tract based on potential economic losses, social vulnerability, and general community resilience to a range of 18 natural hazards.

The legislation would require FEMA to update the National Risk Index tool every five years and leverage the data to designate the 50 most-risk adverse census tracts in each state, and no less than 1 percent of a state’s census tracts, as “Community Disaster Resilience Zones.” The CDRZ Act would allow enhanced federal cost-share above the standard 75 percent for FEMA-funded mitigation projects and would authorize financial aid and technical assistance to local governments seeking project funds.

Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., sponsors the original Senate version of the bill and chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which is the Senate committee of jurisdiction. The Committee passed S. 3876 on March 30 with an amendment to cap the enhanced federal cost share for qualified mitigation projects at 80 percent. Congresswoman Sharice Davids, D-Kan., sponsors the House version. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed H.R. 7242 on April 28 with an amendment to consider impacts of algal blooms as a factor in designating Community Disaster Resilience Zones.

NSDC is among 27 organizations signing onto a Reinsurance Association of America-led March 29 coalition letter in support of the CDRZ Act. Both versions of the bill await further action before the full House and Senate.

Contact Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator, for more information.

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