Casey Calls On FEMA to Give West Pittston More Time- Avoid Costly Fine On Residents that Could Come As Soon As December 1st

Through Letter and Personal Call With Top FEMA Official Senator Calls on Agency to Recognize Progress, Drop Fine Threat

With Deadline Rapidly Approaching, West Pittston Residents Could Be Hit with $50 Per Person Flood Insurance Increase Just Before Holidays

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recognize the progress West Pittston has made on its flood plan and abandon a threat to fine its residents as soon as December 1st.

In a letter to the agency’s Administrator, Craig Fugate, and in a personal call with FEMA’s Associate Administrator, Dave Miller, Casey made the case that hitting residents of West Pittston with a $50 flood insurance rate increase just before the holidays is an unnecessary step since the borough has made significant progress on updating its flood plan.

“West Pittston continues to make progress on its flood plan, and it’s critical that FEMA recognize that progress and continue to work with the borough as opposed to issuing a fine,” Casey said. “Flooding is a significant problem in West Pittston and the last thing these residents, who have just recovered from the flood, need is an increase in their flood insurance rates- especially around the holidays.”

 

The Borough of West Pittston received notice earlier this year that it was at risk of being placed on probationary status with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Over the past few months, the Borough has taken significant steps to improve its compliance with federal floodplain management requirements

The Borough is committed to improving its floodplain management system and my office has been informed that West Pittston has made significant progress in this regard.  However, is unlikely that the Borough will achieve full compliance by December 1.  If West Pittston is placed on probationary status, residents will have to pay higher flood insurance premiums and risk losing flood insurance altogether.  For a community still reeling from last year’s flooding, this is a significant burden and may jeopardize ongoing recovery efforts.

The full text of the letter is below:

Mr. William Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street, SW

Washington, DC 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate:

As you know, the Borough of West Pittston in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, received notice earlier this year that it was at risk of being placed on probationary status with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Over the past few months, the Borough has taken significant steps to improve its compliance with federal floodplain management requirements.  In light of these efforts, I am writing to request that FEMA grant the Borough additional time to achieve full compliance and avoid being placed on probationary status.

West Pittston was devastated by flooding that occurred in September of 2011.  During the recovery process, I understand that the Borough’s floodplain management system was deemed noncompliant with certain federal requirements.  I appreciate FEMA’s willingness to grant the Borough an initial extension to December 1 in order to give local officials time to implement the required changes. 

The Borough is committed to improving its floodplain management system and my office has been informed that West Pittston has made significant progress in this regard.  However, I understand that it is unlikely that the Borough will achieve full compliance by December 1.  If West Pittston is placed on probationary status, residents will have to pay higher flood insurance premiums and risk losing flood insurance altogether.  For a community still reeling from last year’s flooding, this is a significant burden and may jeopardize ongoing recovery efforts.

I urge FEMA to grant an additional extension of the deadline for NFIP probationary status to West Pittston in order to encourage the Borough’s ongoing efforts to improve its floodplain management system.  West Pittston is making a good faith effort to achieve full compliance with federal requirements, and expects to complete the required actions within the coming months.  FEMA should recognize these efforts and continue to work with the Borough in a cooperative manner to ensure that all residents are protected from future flooding.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to continuing to work with you to resolve this matter of critical important to my constituents. 

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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