NFIP Expiration (10 days)
Government Shutdown (17 days)
No Work Plan yet, and it hasn’t made its first stop to the House and Senate appropriations committees. Today remains a maybe, but with the Holiday coming up it is possible that we won’t see it until next week. We will report out as soon as we know it is available.
A bill has been introduced to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31, 2019. The bill is S 3628, introduced by Senator John Kennedy. This will be the 8th short-term reauthorization since the end of FY2017. This bill must be a top priority in the following week, and the bill will need to pass as-is or as a tagalong to another must-pass bill.
Aurelia Skipwith, the current Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks, has been nominated by Trump to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks. Critics are quick to reject her limited 18-month background with little working knowledge of the Agency, claiming she is “utterly unqualified.” She also oversaw the national park system during the agency’s sham review of the national monument system that enabled Trump to illegally eliminate Bears ears national Monument and Grant Staircase-Escalante National Monument to allow Canadian mining companies to claim land resource rights. Skipwith was a Monsanto employee and has worked to dismantle practically every effort to protect wildlife, national parks and monuments. This is a Trump nominee, so did you expect someone qualified with a vested interest in the Agency’s mission?
Notice a spike in last year’s Christmas tree prices? That was due to the recession in 2008 that caused tree farmers to cultivate less trees. Christmas trees take roughly 10 years to mature, so last year and this year will be affected by the shortage and therefore price increase. Oddly enough, heavy flooding and storms in the Carolina’s (where many of firs come from) kill baby saplings and some mature trees too. Look for another shortage or price increase in 2028.
NEW BILLS IN CONGRESS
The COASTAL Implementation Act of 2018 (S. 2242) allows NOAA to continue to develop and assessment model for determining the magnitude and variations of coastal storm surges and wind speeds associated with hurricanes. In the case of indeterminate losses, agencies must be able to determine who is responsible for lost property. Requiring NOAA to report location-based weather data about severity and time of impact will allow them to develop an accuracy of greater than 90% when determining the responsible party. Results will then be put into a FEMA-generated formula that uses a Named Storm Event Model and determine the appropriate loss allocation for wind and water damages.
The PREPARE Act of 2017, H.R. 4177, the Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience and Effectiveness Act of 2017, or the PREPARE Act of 2017, creates an interagency council dedicated to identifying and managing the risks of extreme weather events, increasing resilience and coordination. Federal agencies are directed to develop extreme weather adaptation plans, to proactively mitigate risk and minimize Federal fiscal exposure.