"FEMA Stuns Florida With Pricey Hurricane Penalty"

"The agency’s action indicated that Lee County homeowners were skirting federal rules requiring stronger rebuilding after disasters."

"A stunning federal decision is leaving residents of a Florida county that was devastated by one of the nation’s most destructive hurricanes without an insurance discount that has saved them hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency revoked the discount it gave to 125,000 property owners in Lee County who have FEMA flood insurance after warning local officials about unsafe rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian in 2022.

The decision shocked officials in one of the nation’s most flood-prone counties and serves as a warning to communities nationwide to follow FEMA’s requirement that homes being rebuilt after floods must be protected from future disasters.

The agency’s unusual move comes as growing flood damage due to climate change and ongoing real estate development in storm-prone areas has put a spotlight on communities that redevelop flooded areas without adding new protection, such as elevating homes."

Thomas Frank reports for E&E News April 3, 2024.

Source: E&E News, 04/05/2024