FEMA’s Flood Insurance Harms Fish, Groups Say

     PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Environmental groups say FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program threatens at least 15 species of threatened or endangered salmon by encouraging human development in flood plains.

     The Audubon Society says FEMA prioritizes protection against property loss and structural damage, rather than on protecting delicate floodplain and wetland ecosystems, even though it has the discretion to implement environmentally minded policies.
     The Endangered Species Act requires FEMA to consult with the Secretary of Commerce, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether its insurance plan could harm a threatened or endangered creature, the lawsuit states.
     Audubon, along with fellow plaintiffs Northwest Environmental Defense Center, National Wildlife Federation and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, wants a court order stopping FEMA from issuing flood insurance for new Oregon developments in habitat critical for the survival of the state’s salmon and steelhead, until the agency studies the effect of its plan.
     Daniel Rohlf filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County Court.

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