RFF on the Issues delivers timely policy insight from Resources for the Future
November 25, 2013
Note: RFF on the Issues will not be distributed on December 2.
State Species Regulation
Newly proposed legislation allowing for more flexible land use could give states the power to opt out of Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. The bill would also require congressional approval for additions to the federal endangered species list, as well as compensation for some private property owners affected by the ESA.
The ESA will be the focus of RFF’s next First Wednesday Seminar, Species Conservation under the Endangered Species Act, on December 4. RFF’s Rebecca Epanchin-Niell will lead panelists in a discussion of the strategies needed to overcome the challenges to effective implementation of the ESA. Register to attend in person or watch via live webcast and Tweet questions using #AskRFF. Read more about new tools for conservation under the ESA in the latest issue of Resources magazine.
Flood Insurance Reform Delay
Congress has yet to reach an agreement that would delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which will remove artificially low insurance rates in high-risk areas though the gradual elimination of discounts and subsidies. However, some have voiced concerns about the severity of the changes for many coastal homeowners.
RFF’s Carolyn Kousky and Howard Kunreuther of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School argue that delaying the act “could impede the financial soundness of the [National Flood Insurance Program].” Insurance rates kept artificially low do not accurately reflect information to homeowners about the risks they face. The authors recognize that affordability must still be addressed, however, and suggest enhancing the Biggert-Waters Act with a voucher system coupled to a low-interest loan program for investments in hazard mitigation.
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Archived editions of RFF on the Issues are available here.