For those not aware, FEMA actually falls into the Department of Homeland Security and is totally separate from the Corps of Engineers. This comes into play specifically with disaster declarations, where special rules take effect that allow FEMA to bypass certain federal restrictions when life, property and safety are at risk where the Corps may not be allowed to.
EARMARKS - Below are charts highlighting that Members of Congress have earmarked funds out of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program (PDM).
The House bill:
- Cancels all outstanding FEMA Community Disaster Loans as of the end of June 2021
- Mandates at least a 90 percent federal cost share for emergencies and disasters that occurred or were declared during 2020
Equity in Disaster Assistance for Individuals and Households.— The Committee is aware of concerns raised about inequities in the delivery of disaster assistance to disaster survivors, especially through FEMA’s Individual and Household Program (IHP), including concerns expressed by constituents, media reports and a recent GAO Report, Disaster Assistance Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program GAO– 20–503. Among these concerns are that FEMA’s programs provide those in urban and rural disadvantaged communities; and that FEMA’s application process and procedures are too complicated, causing many to discontinue their applications or forego appeals due to a mistaken belief that they are not eligible. In addition, FEMA’s attempts to prevent fraudulent applications may be so re- strictive as to inadvertently screen out many who may appropriately qualify for assistance.
The Office of the Inspector General is directed to review FEMA’s application process and procedures for IHP, including its methods to prevent fraudulent applications, and to brief the Committee on its findings within 120 days of the date of enactment of this Act. The briefing shall detail whether recommendations from oversight entities, including the OIG, may have inadvertently led FEMA to develop policies and procedures that are overly restrictive and, as a result, may be pre- venti P from receiving that assistance.
Chief Resilience Officer.— The Committee is aware that six states have designated a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) to coordinate planning and response activities associated with flooding, sea level rise, and severe storm risk. The Committee expects FEMA to continue to coordinate with the existing state CROs in addition to all of FEMA’s SLTT partners to identify opportunities for collaboration, create new efficiencies in federal-state relations, and identify how new or existing federal funding and other resources, including non-federal resources, may be used to develop state-wide resilience master plans. FEMA should also work with other states that are beginning to take the lead on resilience by creating agencies, offices, or positions specifically tasked with overseeing large adaptation projects, proactively incorporating resilience into old and new infrastructure, and coordinating across agencies. To the extent possible, existing programs and initiatives should be leveraged to include resilience and adaptation in lieu of creating entirely new pro- grams or initiatives that would run but be disconnected from existing state programs.
Hazard Mitigation Natural Infrastructure.— The Committee is aware that rehabilitation or establishment of natural infrastructure, including marshes, wetlands, mangroves, and dunes can improve resiliency, reducing damage from flooding and coastal storm surges and leading to more effective floodplain management. Such natural infrastructure can also have long-term beneficial impacts on topography and soils, water quality, wetland health, floodplains, coastal resources, aquatic resources, environmental justice, and public health and safety in coastal areas. In addition environ- mental mitigation measures offer both aesthetic and recreational value.
The Committee urges FEMA to continue to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as state, local, and tribal governments and business and non-profit stakeholders, on developing and supporting conservation and environment-based flood mitigation measures to reduce the impact of floods on communities, lives, and livelihoods, and utilize mitigation grant funds for infra- structure projects that will mitigate future damage.
PDM Grant Funding Earmarks:
House Commerce, Justice and Science
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $6.46 billion for NOAA, which is $1.03 billion above the FY 2021 enacted level. Funding will help address important priorities such as climate research, improvements in weather forecasting, understanding sea level rise, supporting offshore wind energy, fisheries management, and STEM education.
The Commerce appropriations bill provides strong and responsible funding increases for critical efforts to better understand, and prepare for, the Earth’s changing climate. Notable funding increases are provided for NASA’s Earth Science activities and aeronautics research aimed at producing more environmentally sustainable aviation. NOAA also receives strong increases for its climate adaptation activities, such as $30,000,000 to increase the understanding of how sea level rise will affect coastal communities and $20,000,000 to address the impacts on fish stocks and the fishing industry of increasing ocean temperatures. Healthy increases are also provided for NOAA’s National Coastal Resiliency Fund and Coastal Zone Management grant program. These grant programs fund green and grey coastal infrastructure solutions to help protect coastal areas threatened by rising sea level and other impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the recommendation includes an increase of $132,637,000 for NOAA’s National Weather Service to enhance its ability to accurately forecast extreme weather events. Numerous other investments are included across NOAA in support of the weather mission, including $15,000,000 to improve the understanding and prediction of wildfire behavior that will help inform suppression efforts and provide more advanced notice to communities at risk from wildfires, as well as $100,000,000 to maintain and recapitalize NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft. In addition, the bill provides a $1.2 billion investment for climate and clean energy-related research at the National Science Foundation, including research on atmospheric composition, water and carbon cycles, computational modeling of climate systems, renewable energy technologies, materials sciences, and social, behavioral, and economic research on human responses to climate change.