White House requires infrastructure to be raised above flood levels

By Thomas Frank | 07/10/2024 05:00 AM EDT

The long-awaited rule will affect all federally funded reconstruction projects.

A vehicle is stranded on a flooded highway in Houston after Hurricane Beryl came ashore in Texas on Monday.

The Biden administration is requiring damaged infrastructure to be elevated above flood levels. Maria Lysaker/AP

The Biden administration is finalizing a policy first proposed in 2015 that aims to protect tens of thousands of federally funded construction projects from heightened flooding caused by climate change.

Starting Sept. 9, public infrastructure that’s rebuilt after a disaster with money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will have to be elevated at least 2 feet above the local flood level. Projects include police stations, schools, sewer plants, roads and bridges.

The final rule being announced by the White House on Wednesday marks a long-delayed victory for environmental, engineering, taxpayer and insurance groups that have sought to strengthen building standards in flood-prone areas.


Read more about the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard in today’s Climatewire.