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Why Is Christie DEP Opposing Legislation to Update State Flood Maps?

Yesterday, the Assembly Environment Committee released an important bill that would direct DEP to update decades old flood hazard maps, see A1726.

Last year, the bill was passed by the Assembly but died in the Senate, after DEP opposed the Senate version of the bill. On June 3, 2013:

DEP suggested amendments, one of which made sense (to set priorities based on flood risks). The other DEP amendment was designed to gut the bill by tying flood map updates to the availability of funds. When asked how much the map updates would cost, DEP repeated an inflated cost estimate of $82 million, based on $16,000 per mile and 5,000 river/stream miles.

Recall that in his December 3, 2012 testimony in response to Senator Gordon’s questions, DEP Commissioner Martin backed away from that and denied that this $81 million cost estimate (fiscal note) came from him. Martin now eats those words and doubles down, clearly an effort to derail the bill because he knows that the Gov. and legislators would never cough up that kind of money.

The issue of inland flooding has not gotten nearly the attention as coastal flooding in the wake of Sandy –

I wrote about those set of issues last year, see:

We hope this bill moves quickly and is put on the Governor’s desk as soon as possible so that DEP can get to work and the thousands of homes and businesses that currently are in flood zones and don’t know it can get insured and protected (and prospective purchasers can be warned of flood risks before buying property).

Similarly, updated DEP flood maps will limit new development in flood hazard areas.

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