Thursday, January 17, 2008

Public Safety First Priority

It is the first priority of government in free societies, and public leadership, to protect the public from floods in Sacramento needs to adopt the gold standard of safety adopted by most other major river cities in the nation, a 500 year level of flood protection and that will be accomplished only with the construction of the Auburn Dam.

Editorial: Safety, not revenue, must come first in Natomas

FEMA is right: The risk of flooding is too great to allow unrestricted development
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, January 17, 2008

A great hue and cry rose forth from Sacramento City Hall on Tuesday. The reason? Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the federal government is tightly enforcing the nation's laws that restrict building in dangerous floodplains.

Armed with new studies that examine the threat of water seeping under levees in Natomas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would place this area in a zone that limits construction of any new structures lower than the expected flood level.

In Natomas, that level could reach 20 feet or more.

This decision by the federal government wasn't unexpected. In October, FEMA officials made clear they wouldn't allow unrestricted building in Natomas as the basin's levees are being upgraded. FEMA held out the possibility of allowing infill development for structures elevated three feet, but has now decided the flood risk in Natomas requires a more restrictive designation.

To hear Mayor Heather Fargo and County Supervisor Roger Dickinson tell it, the federal government is unfairly picking on Natomas, basing its decisions on suspect methodologies. Fargo says that Tuesday she was "very angry with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA." One hopes that Fargo and Dickinson can demonstrate how the corps and FEMA are abusing their authority. Otherwise, they risk leaving the impression they care more about tax revenue than the need to limit risk to life and property.