Louisiana goes toe-to-toe with FEMA in federal court
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - State officials take the next step in their lawsuit against FEMA over the agency’s new flood insurance methodology, Risk Rating 2.0.
Thursday morning, Louisiana’s Solicitor General, Liz Murrill and Attorney General Jeff Landry are planning to ask a judge to throw out FEMA’s plans to change how flood insurance premiums are calculated on the federal level.
“Our only alternative was to go to court, where a federal judge can make them fix it,” Murrill told Fox 8.
Murrill is going to court on behalf of a coalition of 10 states, 43 parishes, 12 levee boards, and 2 municipalities.
Congressman Troy Carter (D-Louisiana) agrees.
“There appears to be some type of algorithm that’s being used, however the formula and the matrix for what that algorithm is has not been shared, so we can determine and public quite frankly can determine if it’s being administered fairly,” Carter said.
FEMA says Risk Rating 2.0 calculates rates that are “sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk.”
But Gordon Dove, on behalf of Terrebonne’s bayou homeowners, says the work his community has done to mitigate flooding risks aren’t recognized by FEMA.
“2.0 is the biggest hurdle that we have to cross right now,” Dove said. “$2 billion on our levee system, so we have a very good levee system and we’re added 30 pumps to the parish.”
Dove says the Morganza to the Gulf levee system keeps the parish safe, but they aren’t federally recognized because the Army Corps didn’t certify them.
“We have these massive investments like Morganza to the Gulf that actually mitigate people’s risks and FEMA has refused to take account of them in adopting our rates,” Murrill said. “So, people are having to pay for risks that they do not have.”
The federal court hearing will start with oral arguments and witness testimony.
The solicitor general says her team thought they would have a whole day to present their case, but the hearing was reduced to a few hours.
Carter says the fight will continue even if the hearing doesn’t favor the states.
“This, we believe, is not a formula for fairness,” Carter said. “So, we will continue to fight with every fiber of our being to protect the people of Louisiana.”
Fox 8 reached out to FEMA for comment and was told the request was forwarded to headquarters, but we haven’t heard back beyond that.
Court proceedings begin Thursday, September 14 at 9 a.m. at the federal courthouse on Poydras, with Judge Darrel Papillion presiding.
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