Quigley, Durbin introduce Urban Flooding Awareness Act
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D- IL) recently introduced a new bicameral Urban Flooding Awareness Act to seek solutions for urban areas that have been most affected by the increased flooding.
“Flooding is not just a coastal issue,” Quickly said. “In recent years, cities like Chicago have experienced unprecedented flooding events. While emergency programs provide relief for families and businesses in traditional flood areas, those same solutions aren’t available to residents and business owners in urban spaces. Floods have forced Chicago businesses to close, cost families their homes, and led to devastating damage throughout our community. Deny it or not, climate change is here and Chicagoans are experiencing it in the form of extreme flooding. Senator Durbin and I are calling on FEMA and other agencies to address urban flooding and to bring much needed relief to cities like Chicago.”
Durbin said major flooding two years ago forced widespread evacuations in Cook County and caused millions of dollars in damages throughout Northeastern Illinois.
"Just last week, heavy flooding took the lives of at least 27 people in Houston, Texas," he said. "Although urban flooding events are growing in frequency and severity, we still don't have the data we need to prepare for the kind of weather that can put our streets, businesses, and homes underwater."
Kathy Tholin, CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based sustainability nonprofit that led efforts to pass similar legislation in Illinois, said the way cities have been built makes them vulnerable to flooding because absorbent dirt and plants are paved over.
“Our research has shown that flooding isn’t limited to floodplains," she said. "Consequences can be severe in sprawling, paved cities, just as we have seen recently in Houston. There are cost-effective strategies and practices, known as green infrastructure, which, along with our existing storm water sewer systems, can help alleviate this problem if our federal and state programs incorporate them.”
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