Fight to stop Biggert-Waters hikes an uphill climb - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fight to stop Biggert-Waters hikes an uphill climb

An image from FEMA's online flood risk site An image from FEMA's online flood risk site
New Orleans, La. -

We're just a couple of months away from massive hikes in flood insurance rates, unless changes are made to what's known as the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

In neighborhoods like River Ridge in Jefferson Parish, some homeowners could see a major hike in their flood insurance rates in October.

"That would make me very unhappy if it goes up any more than it already has," said River Ridge homeowner Earle Pope.

Homeowners can learn if they're at risk by going online to FEMA's flood risk site. If you type in your address and your street is highlighted in red, that means your flood insurance rates could be going up.

This week, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana). It's aimed at preventing FEMA from raising rates on homes and businesses which were built to proper federal code, but are now considered a higher risk because of new FEMA flood maps.

But the senator admits a lot more needs to be done. And that includes getting one of FEMA key decision makers down here this summer to see the new flood protection improvements, "so that he understands that people behind these levees are protected and their rates should go down not up,"  said Landrieu.

Jefferson Parish President John Young warns  homeowners to be aware that, despite local efforts, any attempt to stop the flood rate hikes in October still has to go through many steps in Congress before it gets to the president desk. But he says they have gained more support as other congressional leaders realize that making flood insurance unaffordable can be devastating for the entire U.S. economy.

"Obviously if people can't afford to live in their houses or give money to their bank, it's going to affect real estate,  banking and local government. And the values of properties are going to crash, " said Young.

And Young stresses that just about everyone could get hit with this, not just those in low-lying areas outside of the federal flood protection system that could see rates as high as $5,000. Even some homes and properties within the flood protection system could see rate increases.

It's why congressional leaders are urging Louisianans to get involved and help in the fight.

Young is urging all residents with friends and relatives outside of Louisiana to call them and tell them to help as well. He wants others out of state to write to their congressional representatives and urge them to support Louisiana's congressional leaders in their fight against raising the rates.

If you want to see if your street is at risk, check out the FEMA map at this link.

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