Schatz, Moran, Reed Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Protect Military Bases From Recurring Floods

DoD Spent More than $700 Million Last Fall on Flood Repairs

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) introduced the Protecting Our Military Installations from Recurrent Floods Act of 2018, legislation that would protect military bases from flooding by making sure facility planners are aware of recurrent flood risks in certain areas and consider those risks when building or designing facilities.

“Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and severe. And these are facts that our military can’t afford to ignore,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “Our bill will make sure we build stronger and smarter military bases so that our armed forces can continue to protect American interests at home and around the world.”

“Our national security relies on the long-term safety and security of military installations across the country, but ongoing maintenance costs continue to inhibit the ability of the Department of Defense to build new and necessary facilities,” said Senator Moran, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “Our legislation would require the DoD, as it plans the construction of future installations, to consider the risk of recurrent flooding when building facilities within a 100-year floodplain. By mitigating future risks of damage to facilities and reducing recovery costs, we will make certain we are carrying out the responsibility that Kansans and Americans have charged us with – to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

“The Pentagon needs to take proactive, cost-effective steps to protect our bases and military assets and combat climate change.  This legislation will take an important step forward in the effort to protect our military installations from the costs, dangers, and risks of flooding,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The bipartisan legislation would:

  • Require the Department of Defense to disclose when a proposed military construction project will be sited within or partially within a 100-year floodplain, according to FEMA’s most recently available flood hazard data;
  • Require DoD to establish a process for delineating the 100-year floodplain using the same risk analysis and standards that FEMA uses when there is no flood hazard data for a proposed military construction site; and
  • Require DoD to exceed the baseline elevation of the 100-year floodplain when designing a facility to mitigate future flood risk. This requirement would codify a way DoD already complies with a previous executive order, which recognized that storm surge and compound flood events often result in flood waters that are higher than what facility planners anticipate based on the 100-year floodplain maps.

According to a January 2018 DoD infrastructure vulnerability survey of more than 3,500 worldwide sites, nearly 1,000 reported vulnerability due to flooding, including non-storm surge-related flooding, such as rain, snow, sleet, river overflow and flooding due to storm surge.