The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 is an example of government at its worst.
The act, which was supported by Senators Manchin and Rockefeller and Representatives McKinley, Capito, and Rahall, will destroy riverfront communities and rob home and business owners of their lifetime investments. It will discourage economic development, further depress the housing market and displace people who have lived in riverfront communities for generations. All West Virginians will feel the impact of this law on our economy, property values, tax revenues and way of life. The irony is that it will be more devastating to communities in the Ohio Valley than any flood in our history.
The affordability study contemplated by the act was never completed. Home and business owners are seeing their flood insurance increase by multipliers as high as 10. There will also be a dramatic expansion of properties required to purchase extremely expensive flood insurance, despite the fact that these properties have never made any claims.
Individuals will not be able to sell their homes or businesses located in flood zones without taking incredible losses. The result of Biggert-Waters is that if you own a home or business in a FEMA-designated flood zone, the government, by the stroke of a pen, has destroyed its value. Many home and business owners are facing the prospect of foreclosure and bankruptcy as a result of the act.
Do not pretend that this will not negatively effect the value of homes and businesses located outside flood zones. It effects entire communities.
A bill to delay and fix the Biggert- Waters Act has passed the United States Senate. However, Republican House Speaker Boehner is refusing to allow a vote on the bill. It is vital that Republican Congressman McKinley and Republican Congresswoman Capito prevail upon their majority leader to immediately allow a vote on the bill. It is time for them to deliver on their recent rhetoric in opposition to the impact of Biggert-Waters. Action needs to be taken now to correct their mistake in voting for Biggert Waters before West Virginians lose their homes and businesses. West Virginians deserve results, not merely words.
Congressman McKinley and Congresswoman Capito had better deliver. They are the ones who passed this terrible bill in the first place. Their ability to get the job done in delaying and fixing it will be key to whether many West Virginians support them in November.
Timothy E. Haught