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Trump To Repeal Obama-Era Flood Risk Building Standards

CLIMATE

Trump To Repeal Obama-Era Flood Risk Building Standards




President Trump will repeal an Obama-era executive order on Tuesday that required strict building standards for government-funded infrastructure projects to “improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding,” which are “anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats.”

The 2015 executive order was signed by Obama several years after Hurricane Sandy and following a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report that examined flood risks.

“The research explicitly took sea level rise induced by climate change into account, and finds that ‘flood risk is increasing for coastal populations and supporting infrastructure,'” The Washington Post reports.

It raised base flood levels to a higher vertical elevation to “address current and future flood risk and ensure that projects funded with taxpayer dollars last as long as intended,” according to a 2015 Treasury Department presentation on the order.



Trump will sign his own executive order this afternoon to roll back the tougher new building standards as part of his administration’s plan to “streamline the current process” for public infrastructure projects, a government official said.

Trump’s order will establish “discipline and accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects,” the White House said on Monday.

The Pacific Standard added:

The [Obama] rule would require higher upfront construction costs, but it would also save lives; flooding causes more deaths in the U.S. than any other type of natural disaster. And it’s clear that Trump is concerned about rising sea level when its his own property under threat. In May, Politico reported that the president filed for a permit to build a sea wall to protect one of his seaside golf resorts in Ireland from coastal erosion due to climate change-induced sea level rise and storms.

Flood policy expert Eli Lehrer, president of the libertarian R Street Institute, told Climatewire: “This will inevitably expand the need for disaster aid, both to rebuild federal facilities likely to be destroyed, and to help people who would be lured into harm’s way by dumb decisions by central planners.”

“The Trump administration is acting very rashly in part out of the desire to undo a climate measure under the Obama administration,” he said. “This is an enormous mistake that is disastrous for taxpayers. The (Obama) rule would have saved billions of dollars over time.”

Lehrer added: “So if President Trump is committed to fiscal responsibility, he really needs to take a close look at this. This will not result in smaller government.”

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