Trump administration reportedly backs off proposal to strengthen homes in flood zones

Key Points
  • The Trump administration is ending a proposed rule that would have imposed tougher standards on building homes within flood zones, according to the New York Daily News.
  • It comes just as parts of Texas and Florida get set to rebuild after two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma.
Flood water from Hurricane Irma surround a damaged mobile home in Bonita Springs, Florida, September 10, 2017.
Bryan Woolston | Reuters

The Trump administration has pulled back from a proposed rule related to strengthening new and rebuilt homes in flood zones against damage, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

The report, which did not specifically name its sources, comes just as the United States aims to rebuild from damage to parts of Texas and Florida after lashings from two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma.

The Obama-era plan would have made flood zones larger and required certain properties to get built at higher elevation or flood-proofed if financial assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development was sought. The proposal followed Superstorm Sandy, which inflicted major damage on parts of New Jersey and New York in 2012.

A HUD spokesman said the agency has followed the standards described in the proposed rule in rebuilding efforts since Sandy. The spokesman did not comment on whether the Trump administration will abandon the requirements in the future.

Dan Zarrilli, who oversees Sandy recovery for New York City, told the Daily News that scrapping the rule is "terrible" and that houses will be "built to lower standards because the feds aren't looking at addressing the effects of climate change."

The Mortgage Bankers Association had criticized the proposed rule, saying it added uncertainty to the lending process and could increase the costs of lending and construction.

Zarrilli could not immediately be reached for comment.

Read the Daily News report here.

Update: This story was updated to include comment from HUD.