Environmental Groups Sue FEMA Over Oregon Flood Maps

August 6, 2009

The Audubon Society of Portland has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to ensure that its remapping of flood zones for the National Flood Insurance Program does not jeopardize endangered salmon in Oregon or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat for those species.

According to court documents in Audubon Society of Portland, National Wildlife Federation, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Association of Northwest Steelheaders v. Federal Emergency Management Association, “through the NFIP, FEMA facilitates, influences, and even promotes and encourages human development in Oregon floodplains, thereby impairing habitat functions essential to the continued survival and recovery of imperiled salmon and steelhead listed as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act.”

However, the environmental groups claim that FEMA never addressed those impacts to the federally protected species, as required by law, to ensure that its flood program does not jeopardize the endangered salmon and their habitats. The groups also said FEMA failed to use its authorities to carry out programs to conserve listed species.

In its lawsuit, the groups are seeking to curtail FEMA’s issuance and authorization of flood insurance policies for new development within the geographic area where the endangered salmon could potentially be impacted until FEMA completes a consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and ensures that continued implementation of the NFIP does not jeopardize the salmon.

For information, visit http://blog.oregonlive.com/environment_impact/2009/06/Audubon%20Society%20v%20Fema.pdf.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.