Letter: Congress needs to act for flood protection

Published 6:30 am Saturday, August 29, 2020

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As a veteran and schoolteacher, I have dedicated my life to serving and protecting. That’s why I am speaking up now to support stronger building standards — so Minnesota communities can withstand a future with increasingly severe weather and flooding.

Flooding has now become the costliest and the most frequent natural disaster we face. Sadly, too often it is folks in rural communities and People of Color who experience the worst of these devastating floods – because their communities have not seen the same level of resources or planning to keep them safe.

That’s why we need Congress to require tougher building standards that meet future flood risk, especially where public tax dollars are being spent. This would ensure that buildings are elevated, roads built out of the floodway, storm sewers that can handle larger rainfalls, and critical infrastructure like hospitals, schools and fire stations protected from future flooding.

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Research shows that stronger building standards are fiscally smart, that for every dollar spent on resilience it saves society $5-$7. It would also create more jobs, boost economic recovery following a disaster, and strengthen communities who may be struggling. It’s no wonder recent Pew polling found 85 percent of Americans back stronger building standards.

Congress should act now. Minnesota Reps. Emmer, Phillips and Craig all serve on key U.S. House committees and thankfully have shown support for legislation to address severe weather and flooding. Their bipartisan leadership on building standards would be applauded.

Alec Timmerman

St. Paul, MN