Urge Oregon Politicians Not to Weaken Endangered Species Act Protection for Salmon and Floodplains
After years of hard work by Portland Audubon and other conservation groups, Oregon is poised to implement important and long overdue protections for Oregon’s floodplains (flood prone areas). For decades, the taxpayer subsidized Federal Flood Insurance Program has allowed developers to develop floodplains in ways that harm federally listed salmon and put people, property, and our environment at risk. Today, the Federal Flood Insurance Program is $24 billion in debt due to irresponsible development—a debt that will ultimately be paid by the public.
Thanks to a lawsuit brought by Portland Audubon and partner conservation groups, the Federal Government has recognized that the Federal Flood Insurance Program is harming salmon in direct violation of the Endangered Species Act. FEMA, the agency that administers the Federal Flood Insurance Program, is now required to implement new regulations that will help ensure that development in Oregon’s floodplains is done responsibly and the impacts to federally listed salmon are reduced.
Big development interests oppose these new regulations—they want to continue to enjoy low cost, low accountability, taxpayer subsidized flood insurance when they build in flood prone areas. Unfortunately some of Oregon’s politicians are putting the interests of big developers ahead of the health of our environment, the safety of our communities, and the costs to taxpayers. Congressman DeFazio with the support of Governor Brown is trying to exempt FEMA from the requirements of the Endangered Species Act—an outrageous strategy that will weaken one of our most important wildlife laws and which will prevent reform of one of this nation’s most badly managed subsidies.