Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to explain why it is not incorporating the affects of climate change into its map modernization program. The Senator also expressed disappointment at the fact that FEMA's flood map program does not employ a single staffer with global warming expertise.

"This oversight could mean that local decision makers and millions of homeowners are relying on maps that show a much lower risk of flooding than what actually exists," said Menendez, "If we are not incorporating the latest data on sea level rise, storm strength or rainfall in these maps, then even the most updated flood maps may be obsolete before they are even published, this is irresponsible and unacceptable."

Congress has appropriated over $800 million for the Map Modernization Program, and will likely appropriate an addition $200 million more for fiscal year 2008 to aid in the effort of updating and making digital flood risk maps more easily available. FEMA hopes to modernize and digitize flood maps covering the area where 92% of our country lives by 2008 or 2009. Communities and citizens will then be able to obtain flood hazard data, learn about their flood risk, and make informed decisions about floodplain development and floor mitigation projects.

To read full text of the letter to FEMA: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/lettertofema081507.pdf

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