Oh come on! ProPublica has a story out today "As Need for New Flood Maps Rises, Congress and Obama Cut Funding". This shows the absolute -- not to mention dangerous -- idiocy of our Federal legislators' feverish obsession with cutting the US budget. People, please, the US budget deficit is under control and shrinking faster than the CBO originally estimated. Meanwhile, our public infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes -- another bridge collapsed a few days ago, this time in WA -- and our emergency preparedness is in dire need of being updated. This is not the time for austerity (see Krugman, "How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled.").
The maps, drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, dictate the monthly premiums millions of American households pay for flood insurance. They are also designed to give homeowners and buyers the latest understanding of how likely their communities are to flood.
The government’s response to the rising need for accurate maps? It’s slashed funding for them.
Congress has cut funding for updating flood maps by more than half since 2010, from $221 million down to $100 million this year. And the president’s latest budget request would slash funding for mapping even further to $84 million — a drop of 62 percent over the last four years.
In a little-noticed written response to questions from a congressional hearing, FEMA estimated the cuts would delay its map program by three to five years. The program “will continue to make progress, but more homeowners will rely on flood hazard maps that are not current,” FEMA wrote.
The cuts have slowed efforts to update flood maps across the country.
In New England, for instance, FEMA is updating coastal maps but has put off updating many flood maps along the region’s rivers, said Kerry Bogdan, a senior engineer with FEMA’s floodplain mapping program in Boston.
“Unfortunately, without the money to do it, we’re limited and our hands are kind of tied,” she said.
Many of the flood maps in Vermont — including areas near Lake Champlain that have recently flooded — are decades out of date. “There are definitely communities that really need that data,” said Ned Swanberg, the flood hazard mapping coordinator with Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Time once again for a selection of news and new resources that we hope will be an interest to the FGI community. The following posts are from INFOdocket.com (@infofodocket) where we compile and post new items daily. The oldest item in this roundup was posted on January 26, 2012.
Hurricane Irene: Listen to Live Online Stream 24x7 From First Responders From Throughout Region + FEMA Daily UpdateSubmitted by garyprice on Fri, 2011-08-26 11:06.
Here's a post we just put up that offers a brief overview to a directory where you can listen live to first responders (police, fire, ems). The directory is free to use and the streams are free to access.
Of course, not every county or city has a feed but, for the most part the I-95 corridor is well represented.
Also, the directory is always online (not just a storm resource) and is national in scope. From the Juneau Police Dept. to the Pinellas County Fire and EMS and many other locations.
A second post points out the fact that the FEMA National Situation Daily update is available online (can also be of use after the event) as well as a number of mobile tools from the National Hurricane Center including an option to be alerted to new updates via email or text.
You can always listen live to most major airport towers and centers in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere.
Gary's Thursday Roundup: NLRB, Internet Archive, Ancestry.com, U.S. Census, and Much More (17 Items)Submitted by garyprice on Thu, 2011-08-25 15:21.
Hello From DC (I mean Shakeytown, it Was My First Quake) Everyone.
As we prepare for our next event around hear and elsewhere along the east coast I thought it might be a good time to share a mountain of news, new resources, and other goodies with all of you.
The material comes from posts Shirl Kennedy and I made to our INFOdocket.com site. This is just a small amount of what we post seven days a week. Plus, we also provide FullTextReports.com. New reports are listed in the left rail (Thanks Jim and James)
We both hope you find and item or two of interest in the following update. More very soon. (-:
7.“Google Forfeits $500 Million Generated by Online Ads & Prescription Drug Sales by Canadian Online Pharmacies”
The full text of the statement from the USDOJ and FDA
13. Teen Dating Violence: A Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography
From the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress
FEMA Launches New Mobile Web Site For Smartphones, news release, Federal Emergency Management Agency, April 28, 2010.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate announced the launch of FEMA's new mobile Web site, m.fema.gov. The mobile Web site makes it easier to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster right on a smartphone.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now has its own channel on Youtube: youtube.com/fema and its own twitter feed: twitter.com/femainfocus. And, of course, it has a number of RSS feeds, fema.gov/help/rss.shtm.
FEMA In Focus: Where FEMA Was, Is Now, and Where FEMA Is Going, FEMA Press Release HQ-09-004, January 7, 2009.
FEMA starts channel on YouTube, By Alice Lipowicz, FCW.com, Jan 08, 2009.
I've seen a lot of good resources related to Hurricane Ike over the past week, and thought I'd compile them here.
- Images of the devastation that Ike wrought, from the USGS, NOAA, and NASA.
- Applying for assistance through FEMA.
- Hurricane assistance resources through USA.gov and Health & Human Services.
- Planning for future hurricane preparedness.
- Rebecca Blakeley has posted a list of places you can volunteer or donate at Gov Docs on the Bayou.
- I also used a recent FGI tip to stay informed! By watching the NASA tweets, I saw when this message was posted about the re-opening of Johnson Space Center on Monday.
Senator Mary Landrieu wrote an article at poynter.org, "letting the sunshine in" to illuminate delayed FEMA response to FOIA requests in regards to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For example, Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune filed a FOIA request with FEMA regarding its disaster response operations and planning. After two years (and asking him twice if he was "still interested"), FEMA has yet to act.
But it's this part of the article that really hits a nerve:
"Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that it had filed a FOIA request in 2006 seeking documentation on FEMA’s contracting procedures and the decisions behind deploying travel trailers across the Gulf Coast. FEMA says they will release the information -- for a fee. The going price for the truth is apparently $209,990, principally to defray copying costs. The agency said the documents are not available electronically and that the only hard copies are stored in its New Orleans field office. Meanwhile, on its Website, FEMA itself advises that, 'If you plan ahead and copy what you have onto compact disks, you can be secure in knowing that they will not be lost in the future.' "
I just don't know what to say after reading that...
What?! That's right. FEMA deputy director Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson held a phony news conference on Tuesday (story here and here) about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California. At the news conference, FEMA employees played the part of reporters and asked Johnson softball questions. I don't know which is worse: having a director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who's previous job was as a commissioner for an Arabian horse association or having a FEMA director who thinks it's ok to hold a sham news conference for political gain. FEMA deals with serious life and death situations (Katrina, wild fires etc) and so should have leaders of the highest qualifications, NOT political lackies who do not take their jobs seriously.