White House to GOP: Administration followed law for flood order

The White House legally complied with a new law in formulating a new executive order on flood risk management, an administration official told The Hill on Monday after Republicans questioned its legality.

“The Administration gathered stakeholder input as efforts were made to establish a new Federal flood risk management standard--including from state, local and tribal leaders, technical experts and others--and is holding public meetings across the country as well as a 60 day public comment period before the standard will be implemented,” the official said in an email. 

Last week, a group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Obama questioning whether the administration followed the law by soliciting input from mayors, governors and other stakeholders for the new order. 

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The administration official on Monday pointed out that the Jan. 30 executive order itself said the White House did make those requests for feedback.

“The views of Governors, mayors, and other stakeholders were solicited and considered as efforts were made to establish a new flood risk reduction standard for federally funded projects.”

Once public input has been considered and implementation guidelines are finalized, agencies will be responsible for applying their own standard, the administration official said.

The president's order expands his proposed Climate Action Plan from 2013, and directs federal agencies to take actions to reduce the risk of flooding to federal investments.

Under the order, agencies must measure whether new structures or facilities built in flood-prone areas, for example, meet the new standard. 

The senators questioning the move, whose states mostly border the Gulf of Mexico, asked the White House for more information about how the order was crafted, including the names of governors, mayors and other stakeholders that were consulted, along with all details of the correspondence. 

The White House will review their letter, the official said. 

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