New Flood Control Policies Needed in Wake of Midwest Floods
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
New Flood Control Policies Needed in Wake of Midwest Floods and With Probability of More Extreme Weather from Global Warming
Flooding in Midwest a sign of what’s coming; failed U.S. flood control policies no longer cut it
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Record flooding is devastating Iowa and other parts of the Midwest, and with global warming promising to create even more extreme weather, Friends of the Earth said today that it’s time to revamp the country’s failed flood control policies.
The group launched an effort to stop the federal government from spending the vast majority of its “flood control” money on Army Corps of Engineers structural engineering projects (dikes and levees) that have repeatedly failed to protect human populations from floods. Instead, the group called for resources to be dedicated toward voluntary relocation out of flood zones and restoration of natural ecosystems, such as wetlands, that serve as flood buffers.
“Extreme weather events such as the heavy rains that hit Iowa and Illinois are becoming more frequent with global warming, and the time to prepare is now,” Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said. “That means ending the failed flood control policies of the past and turning to proven approaches, namely keeping human development out of flood zones and restoring neighboring ecosystems to their natural state.”
Wetlands and other ecosystems serve as natural buffers when flooding takes place, but up to 95 percent of the wetlands in Iowa and Illinois have been destroyed. Instead of being used to keep development out of flood plains, federal anti-flood funding has been spent in a pork barrel fashion by the Army Corps of Engineers to build more and bigger dikes—a process that has repeatedly failed to protect Midwestern communities.
Friends of the Earth activists across the country are contacting presidential candidates as well as their members of Congress and asking them to adopt more effective policies. More information about the likelihood of increased precipitation due to global warming and better approaches to flood management can be found at foe.org and in our background paper here.
Friends of the Earth (foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.