Mining bill threatens flood coverage

A new mining bill passed by the state Assembly that weakens environmental regulations and limits public input also threatens Federal flood insurance for thousands of Wisconsin property owners, according to the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Floodplain Management Branch. Writing in the Capital Times, Madison representative Brett Hulsey says he has been told by FEMA that the mining bill, which  would exempt strip mines from state floodplain rules, would put Wisconsin out of compliance with federal law. Hulsey writes, "These rules are in place to protect our flood-vulnerable homes and businesses, and if Wisconsin doesn’t meet them, the federal government can’t provide any flood insurance and can give only limited flood disaster relief to anyone in our state." 18,000 federal flood insurance properties representing more than $3 billion in property (see map at left) could be placed at risk by the mining bill. Opponents of the bill hope to stop it in the Senate.