Murkowski Criticizes FEMA Juneau Flood Mapping Process

Senator Sends Letter on “Complex and Jargon-heavy” Work That Could Cost Homeowners

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rethink its revised Juneau flood plain maps that could end up costing residents hundreds or thousands of dollars in flood insurance annually – in a letter sent today. “These proposed flood maps based on approximations and estimates will end up costing Juneau homeowners real money, all due to flawed science.”

At issue in the controversy is whether homeowners were informed sufficiently about the process and if ample time was given for the community to provide feedback.  A small ad placed in the Juneau Empire called attention to the process and hearing schedule, but could have easily gone unnoticed by many who may see their insurance rates escalate due to curious data.

Additionally, anecdotal examples published in the Empire suggest that some homeowners may have erroneously been assigned to flood zones.

Senator Murkowski called on FEMA to extend the comment period in the letter and engage in a new round of outreach with the community. “The process by which it is determined whether property owners must maintain flood insurance is complex jargon-heavey,” wrote Murkowski.  “‘100 year flood zone’, ‘base flood elevation’, ‘velocity zone’ are not part of the everyday vernacular. Surely, FEMA can speak plain English with Juneau homeowners” She closed the letter by pointing out that as the Senate considers reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, members need to be confident in its mapping and rating system.