Agency Reverses Pledge for Improved Buffalo Flood Map
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is criticizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for misleading his office and the public relative to federal flood zone designations in the City of Buffalo. A revised map, released today, further worsens the flood plain in the Old First Ward.
“FEMA needs to spend less time playing games with the American public and more time doing its job of protecting those truly in jeopardy of natural disasters,” said Congressman Higgins. “My office has worked with FEMA in good faith on the Buffalo flood zone issue for a couple years now and has been in close communication specific to the revised map for the last two weeks only to find they have misled the good residents of Buffalo and attempted to blindside the hard working families who don’t deserve and can’t afford a flood designation.”
While a revised map resulted in an approximately 90% reduction in flood plain size for South Buffalo, after further scrutiny Congressman Higgins discovered FEMA plans to expand the 100-year flood plain in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, Cobblestone District, Inner Harbor, and Waterfront Village.
Upon learning that FEMA preliminarily included the Old First Ward and other neighborhoods along the Buffalo River in the 100-year flood plain for purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program, the Congressman’s office immediately contacted FEMA’s Region II office in New York City to express the Congressman’s serious concerns with this proposal. Congressman Higgins’ office has been working with FEMA over the last two weeks to advocate for the exclusion of these neighborhoods from the flood plain. Again and again the Congressman’s office was assured that a new map would be presented that would more closely resemble the 1999 map, effectively taking these areas back out of the flood zone. The newest map was released today and it actually makes the flood plain designation worse for residents in the Old First Ward section of Buffalo.
"There has never been a riverine flood in the City of Buffalo. Ever," said Congressman Higgins. “We trusted them when they told us they were changing the maps for the better. They misled us and now we will fight this.”