WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Facilitating Hazard Mitigations Projects Act to simplify its requirements for demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of hazard mitigation grants.
“Louisiana communities need less bureaucratic red tape to better access the resources needed to build protections against natural disasters,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill makes it easier to apply for grants to fund resiliency projects.”
“Too often, complex application requirements limit the ability of underserved communities to access critical hazard mitigation funding that helps protect people and property against disasters,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help simplify the process and ensure communities in Michigan and across the United States will have the capacity to apply for critical FEMA funding.”
Generally, states, local governments, Tribes, and territories (SLTTs) that request hazard mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are currently required to submit a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their projects. Extensive applicant feedback has shown that the current BCA process is cumbersome and overly complicated, which puts underserved communities at a disadvantage for accessing funds. Hazard mitigation grant funds can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards.
The Facilitating Hazard Mitigations Projects Act would require FEMA to develop strategies for reducing the complexity of its cost-effectiveness requirements for hazard mitigation grants, and provide a report to Congress on how it is implementing those potential strategies. This legislation also requires FEMA to consult with SLTTs and non-profit partners as it performs its evaluation. Under this bill, FEMA would still be required to ensure grants are cost-effective and meet all other grant eligibility requirements.
“The benefit-cost analysis at FEMA has been challenging for communities to navigate, while creating barriers to developing solid predisaster mitigation projects. Congress must act now to streamline the approach. The U.S. Chamber commends Senators Cassidy and Peters for their bipartisan efforts to build modern and resilient infrastructure systems across our nation,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for Policy Marty Durbin.
“When disasters strike, county officials and emergency responders play a critical role in both the immediate response and long-term efforts to recover,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Under current law, FEMA requires counties to undertake a benefit-cost analysis for pre and post disaster mitigation projects, which can be unnecessarily burdensome and lead to delays in recovery. The Facilitating Hazard Mitigation Projects Act would require FEMA to examine ways to reduce the complexity of this process to ensure resources reach communities more efficiently. We thank Senators Cassidy and Peters for introducing this bipartisan legislation and urge its swift passage.”