Beach News


Beach News is a courtesy service provided by the Carteret County Shore Protection Office that furnishes on-line news relevant to the beaches of North Carolina with special emphasis to Carteret County.  Please visit if you wish to be added to or removed from the "Beach News" distribution list.   Recent "Beach News" is provided below.

BEACH NEWS for 2019

REACH 3 COMPLETE - REACH 2 STARTED - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

Southern Shores to hear views on widening 3 miles of beach

SC’s flood insurance rates could see massive change with new FEMA program

County: Nourishment project on track to be complete by Easter

REACH 3 ALMOST COMPLETE - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

With Three Dredging Projects at Hatteras Inlet, Commission Examines Issues at Oregon Inlet, Other Sites 

DHEC board denies challenge to groin project at DeBordieu beach

Georgia lawmakers look to change rules of beach development 

In photos: Carolina Beach re-nourishment project underway 

'This program is sick.' Fight brews over flood insurance
Thomas Frank, E&E News Thursday, March 14, 2019
Efforts in Congress to overhaul an embattled insurance program that covers millions of properties against flood damage were jolted yesterday by a plan to make taxpayers pay $20 billion in cost overruns.  The proposal by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, was instantly attacked by Republicans, setting up tense negotiations over renewing the program as chronic flooding is exacerbated by climate change.  Despite unanimous agreement that the National Flood Insurance Program needs revision, the problems and potential solutions are so varied that Congress has failed for more than four years to help it avoid financial losses and steer development out of flood-prone areas. Although the program primarily insures against floods, it also reduces damage to property through mitigation programs and flood mapping.  "This program is sick," Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) said at a hearing yesterday by the Financial Services Committee. Duffy's 2017 reform bill, which sought to encourage more private insurers to write flood policies, passed the House but stalled in the Senate.  Waters is taking a different approach that stresses containing insurance rates, strengthening flood mitigation and improving FEMA's ongoing work at drawing new maps that define the nation's flood zones. And Waters wants to start by forgiving the $20.5 billion debt the insurance program began accumulating when massive hurricanes forced it to pay unprecedented claims, beginning with Katrina in 2005.  "We must do more to address unaffordable premium costs for low-income households [and] address the program's debt, which is unfairly burdening policyholders with millions of dollars in interest," Waters said yesterday. The program has paid $4.2 billion in interest on its debt to the Treasury Department since 2005, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs NFIP. The program was self-sustaining until 2005.
Debt forgiveness promises to be controversial because Congress and the White House canceled $16 billion of the insurance program's debt in October 2017 after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused billions of dollars of flood damage in Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said that writing off the debt is "bad policy and shortsighted" because it "does not solve the root causes of insolvency."  The ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, criticized Waters' proposal for forgiving "$20 billion without any assurance or necessary reforms that give us some understanding that it wouldn't just pile up again."  But another Republican, Rep. Garret Graves, who represents a flood-prone district in southern Louisiana, noted that Congress allocated $120 billion in disaster aid to help victims of the 2017 hurricanes, many of whom did not have flood insurance. "We can't just look at the balance of the debt," said Graves, the ranking member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (Climatewire, March 11).  The insurance program covers 5.1 million properties and is the nation's primary flood insurer. Homeowners' insurance policies generally do not cover flood damage.
One of Waters' boldest proposals would take a step toward providing premium discounts to low-income policyholders, who are heavily concentrated in some high-risk flood zones. Many policyholders receive federal subsidies if they live in homes built before 1975 or in homes that were recently declared to be in a high-risk flood zone.  Waters' proposal would for the first time establish subsidies based on a policyholders' income. That received support from the conservative R Street Institute, which advocates for free markets.  R.J. Lehmann, the institute's director of insurance, praised Waters and said her idea is "the first substantial policy proposal" to address the affordability of federal flood insurance. Policies cost an average of $699 a year, according to FEMA, but vary widely, particularly in high-risk areas in which many low-income individuals and families live.  Current subsidies "disproportionately benefit wealthier areas," Lehmann said. Subsidizing low-income policyholders — those making less than 80 percent of an area's median household income — is "crucial" to phasing out other subsidies, Lehmann said.   Waters proposed providing subsidies to low-income policyholders for five years to test whether they induce more property owners to buy flood insurance.
Waters also would modernize how FEMA draws new flood zones by requiring the agency to use the most advanced technology and to produce heavily detailed maps.  Flood-mapping expert Velma Smith of the Pew Charitable Trusts research organization testified yesterday that spending on new maps "has been far from adequate" and that many rural areas "lack even the most basic information about [flood] risks." That could lead communities to allow construction unwittingly in high-risk flood zones, Smith said.  The insurance program's legal authority expires on May 31, 2019. The deadline will force Congress to enact reform by then or to simply pass a one-page bill extending the program for a period of months without making any changes. Congress has passed such reauthorizations 10 times since the end of 2017.

PROJECT UPDATE (with "after dredge" Photos of beach) - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

ENC beaches ‘slowly self-healing’ following Florence damages 

Beach renourishment underway along several Crystal Coast beaches 

Topsail Towns Prioritize Storm Projects

Bald Head Renourishment Project Nears End

Owner of giant 24-bedroom Outer Banks house drops lawsuit as it sits empty 

Opening ‘a can or worms’? NC committee backs letting some schools start the year earlier 

Update (w/ NEW DUNE CONSTRUCTION SCHEMATIC) - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

PROJECT START (with Photos) - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

Sanderson files bill to revive dredging referendum

Bald Head Island Beach Renourishment Begins; Demonstrates Long-Term Terminal Groin Success

OBX town of Duck looks to the mountains for help with coastal flooding
OFFSHORE DRILLING - Interior gives lawmakers no guarantees on 5-year plan
Kellie Lunney and Jennifer Yachnin, E&E News reporters, March 7, 2019
The acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management yesterday told House lawmakers the agency would release "in the coming weeks" its revised proposed five-year offshore drilling plan to open up more than 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas leasing.  Natural Resources Committee Democrats couldn't pin down Walter Cruickshank on a specific date for the second rollout of the highly anticipated proposal, which once released will enter a 90-day public comment period.  Lawmakers also couldn't get him to say which states — if any — ultimately will be excluded from the 2019-2024 outer continental shelf plan to put the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans in play for potential drilling.  "How much longer and what needs to happen before we make a final determination that Florida will be either in or out of this plan given that the entire Florida delegation opposes it?" Florida Democratic Rep. Darren Soto asked Cruickshank during an Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing.  "Where we are in the process right now, congressman, is we are finalizing the analysis of the schedule that was in the draft proposed program, providing that analysis and the comments received from the public, from governors, from the congressional delegation to the acting secretary so that he can make his decisions on what to include in the proposed program," the BOEM acting director said, noting the "rather drawn-out process" dictated by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
That next proposal will trigger more analysis and public feedback before it heads back to the Interior secretary for final recommendations. "All of that needs to happen before there is a final program put into place," Cruickshank said.  California Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman and Mike Levin had similar exchanges with Cruickshank, noting their state's robust opposition to being included in the proposal.  "Was the message received?" Huffman asked, referring to the Golden State's rejection of the administration's offshore drilling proposal.  "The message was certainly received, and comments have been shared with the department's leadership," Cruickshank said, adding that the law outlines several criteria for offshore drilling plans, including public feedback. "Public input certainly informs those factors but, by law, is not and cannot be the only thing we consider," he said.  Huffman said the committee yesterday received initial documents it had requested from BOEM last month related to communication between the Interior Department and then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) office regarding then-Secretary Ryan Zinke's Jan. 9, 2018, visit (E&E Daily, March 4).  After that visit, Zinke tweeted he was "taking #Florida off the table for offshore oil and gas" and the department's proposed offshore drilling plan, which kick-started a series of confusing comments about the matter and prompted many coastal states to demand an exemption from the plan.  Cruickshank agreed to come back before the committee to discuss those documents once they've all been handed over to the panel and analyzed.  Republicans, including Louisiana's Garret Graves and Arizona's Paul Gosar, criticized Democrats for their opposition to oil and gas drilling when those revenues have largely funded conservation programs across the country (E&E Daily, March 5).

'No one picked up'
BOEM wasn't the only Interior agency in the spotlight during the subcommittee hearing.  Chairman Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) blasted Scott Angelle, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, for not showing up to the hearing.  Doug Morris, the agency's chief of offshore regulatory programs, said Angelle asked him to testify. Morris and Cruickshank are both career employees, who, as Lowenthal noted, are not responsible for setting the policy agenda across their respective agencies.  "It's particularly shameful to see political leadership hide behind career employees," the Democrat said, mentioning that Zinke had once referred to "30 percent" of the department as not "loyal to the flag" (Greenwire, Sept. 26, 2017).  Lowenthal and full committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) yesterday sent a letter to Interior acting Secretary David Bernhardt requesting phone records for Angelle, the second such request Democrats have made.  Angelle in 2017 spoke to a group of energy companies, gave them his cellphone number and said: "I'd rather you call me. Everything you text me is a public record, so be careful. ... Everything that you send me in email is a public record. ... This is a business opportunity to engage with me on what you believe we ought to be about," according to the Democrats' letter.  Lowenthal said he called that cellphone number this afternoon to ask Angelle why he wasn't testifying.
"And after ringing and ringing, no one picked up," he said. It's not clear Angelle still has the same mobile number as he did during the 2017 conference.  Morris said he believed that Angelle was in the office yesterday when Lowenthal asked his whereabouts.  "Director, if you're watching this program, we request that the next time you're asked to come, that you do your job and you come before the committee," Lowenthal said.  Democrats also invited James Reilly, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, to testify yesterday, but he declined.

Well-control rule
Lawmakers also grilled Morris over regulations implemented after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill designed to increase offshore drilling safety protocols for owners and operators. Interior has granted roughly 1,700 exemptions to the regulations since 2016, which Politico first reported last week.  Both committee Democrats and Republicans focused on "waivers" in their questions to Morris.  Republican Kevin Hern of Oklahoma said the number of exemptions since 2016 — many of them requested during the Obama administration — demonstrated how burdensome the regulations are.  But Democrats faulted BSEE for allowing multiple exemptions.  "We were absolutely devastated by the BP oil spill in Florida," said Soto, adding that "it has dumbfounded our entire delegation after we put these rules in place, and they had bipartisan support, that we see them shredded to Swiss cheese."  Morris took issue with the term "waivers," instead defining the actions as "alternative compliance."  "It gives operators flexibility to use something that's better," Morris said. "If it's a newer standard, if it's an international standard, that provision allows them to use that. And it changes what's essentially a very prescriptive requirement to more performance-based."

NEW UPDATE (Project scheduled to start on Friday, 3/8/19) - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

Local Taxes Could Fund Storm Repairs, Inlets 

Dare Board moves on Manteo dredging 

Dredging for Georgetown port leads discussion on penny tax

Great Lakes to begin beach nourishment project Friday 

Beach nourishment waste

CRC Advances New Inlet Hazard Maps, Rules 

Environmental groups oppose beach renourishment plan for Georgetown County’s DeBordieu Island 

Drone mapping of floods, sea level rise receives boost from ODU researchers' feasibility study

Sorting out beach renourishment miscommunication between FEMA, Surf City, and private contractor 

NEWS RELEASE - Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Carteret County, NC, Sign Agreement to Restore Bogue Banks Beaches Impacted by Hurricane Florence

Sand being moved from Morehead City to other beaches for nourishment project

NEW UPDATE w/ Pictures (2/26/19) 
- Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)
Subline Installed

Push On to Change Sand Rule Interpretation

BOEM may be coming to the Outer Banks

GLDD Getting Ready for the Post Florence Renourishment Project

NEW UPDATE w/ Pictures (2/25/19) 
- Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

CoastLine: Sea Level Rise Will Eventually Overtake NC Barrier Islands

Rural coastal residents along the Chesapeake Bay overlooked in sea level rise impacts, solutions

Another piece of Outer Banks history being claimed by rising seas. Can it be saved?

A French beach cleared of homes shows NC the way

NEW UPDATE (2/20/19) 
- Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

Lawmakers: Local calendar control may snag in Senate

NC county considering new tax on prepared foods, beverages 

Flood panel can't meet under Trump; 16 of 20 seats empty
Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
A federal advisory panel that's supposed to provide scientific information to the National Flood Insurance Program is entering a five-month work stoppage, even as property losses mount against the backdrop of severe inundation related to climate change.  The Technical Mapping Advisory Council, or TMAC, is composed of 20 experts tapped by the FEMA administrator to answer complex questions about flood dynamics and flood risk in areas across the United States that are experiencing higher temperatures.
Created by Congress in 2012, TMAC's specific charge is to "ensure that flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) reflect the best available science and are based on the best available methodologies for considering the impact of future development on flood risk."  Its findings have direct implications for NFIP, the federal insurance program meant to protect private properties from catastrophic flood losses. Today, NFIP has nearly 5.1 million policyholders and is more than $20 billion in debt, a crisis brought on by unprecedented payouts since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Congressional leaders and a broad spectrum of interest groups — ranging from environmental organizations to free-market think tanks and insurance industry trade groups — say the program needs sweeping reforms to set it on a firmer financial footing.  That task could be a lot harder with FEMA's top experts sitting on the sidelines.
A FEMA spokesperson told E&E News last week that only four of TMAC's members have passed required screenings by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. "The remaining members are currently pending appointment clearances. As a result ... the TMAC does not have [a] quorum and cannot continue work," the FEMA official said.  Among the individuals awaiting White House clearance is TMAC's chairman, Jeffrey Sparrow, a professional engineer and certified floodplain manager with Moffatt & Nichol. "I was the chair for the past year, and if my appointment hadn't lapsed, I would still be the chair," Sparrow said in a telephone interview.  "I think there is a level of frustration," Sparrow said about the work stoppage. "We have done good work; we've invested our time in doing this, but we're not able to complete our work."  TMAC's last official meeting occurred Sept. 25-26, in Reston, Va., two weeks after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas and one week before Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle.  The two storms generated more than 9,000 NFIP claims, setting the program even deeper in debt after it processed tens of billions of dollars in claims after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017.  
Meanwhile, answers to critical questions that could help FEMA update and improve its flood maps remain hidden in a working draft of a report — a document that hasn't been touched since Sept. 30, according to current and former TMAC members.  "This is the weird thing; we were not done with our task," said Suzanne Jiwani, a floodplain mapping engineer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who oversaw part of the council's research plan for 2018. "I'm frankly surprised that they've held it for so long. It does feel like looking into a black hole."  Jiwani's TMAC appointment ended last fall. She said she was asked to continue working as a subject area specialist for the council, but no one from FEMA has contacted her recently.  Among the key questions TMAC was studying last year was how to communicate uncertainty and precision around data models that determine flood zones without undermining public confidence in flood insurance maps. "We want people to still feel confident in their decisions about where to live, where to build and how to build," Sparrow said.  The council was also trying to find ways to better balance FEMA resources between upgrading existing flood maps and creating new maps for areas that have never been mapped but face growing flood risk.  Jiwani, who oversaw that part of the 2018 research effort, said TMAC looked carefully at rural areas where development had historically been too sparse to justify creating flood insurance maps. It also studied urban areas of less than a square mile, often in the heart of a city, that FEMA had not mapped because their drainage areas were too small.
"This is called pluvial flooding, and it can be quite damaging to these small areas, so we said that's an issue that FEMA needs to look into," Jiwani said.
FEMA said it will take up those questions as soon as TMAC achieves a quorum of at least 11 members, and it can submit its final 2018 report to the FEMA administrator. Sparrow said a draft summary of the report, which is available on FEMA's website, does not reflect the council's final conclusions.  Previous TMAC reports dating to 2015 are available on the council's website. They include a January 2016 "future conditions risk assessment" that advises FEMA on how to incorporate climate science into flood risk assessments and ensure the agency has the best available methodology for weighing the role of sea-level rise in future flood risk maps.  Sparrow said he's confident that the council's previous recommendations, including those published in annual reports filed for 2016 and 2017, have been taken seriously by FEMA.  "I'm certain these reports are not sitting on a shelf collecting dust," he said. "I know that FEMA staff are pushing this issue, and pushing it up the chain to bring more attention to it."  Meanwhile, the NFIP lives by temporary congressional authorizations — it has had 10 extensions since 2017 — while little progress has been made with regard to broader reforms for the program.

Coastal communities should exercise caution in using FEMA Flood Maps as the primary indicator of coastal risk

Surf City approves beach push on top of $5 million sand haul, councilman argues for all-out push to preserve funds

NTB Makes Progress With Storm Recovery

Council Hears Beach Nourishment Project Update 

Protect tourism or give schools flexibility? The calendar fight is raging again in NC. 

Virginia is cracking down on “bad actors” who lease oyster grounds to block dredging

NEW UPDATE (2/14/19) - Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

The New Guide to North Carolina Beaches

Outer Banks Towns Dig For Flooding Fixes 

Latest Round of Dredging Results in Clear Route for Hatteras Village and Hatteras Inlet 

Carolina Beach nourishment project to start Saturday 

Charleston’s next flood-protection measure may face some choppy waters 

No Love Lost: First anniversary of legal battle between Carolina Beach and Freeman Park owners

Carteret County Beach Commission Meeting Agenda
February 18, 2019; Pine Knoll Shores Town Hall, 2 pm

Folly Beach will enter legal effort to determine who owns fast-eroding land 

NJ must pay Point Pleasant Beach couple $330K for taking land for dune

Town of Surf City moves forward on sand concerns after FEMA results fail to meet expectations

Group Seeks Corps’ OK On Dredge Spoil Plan 

Kitty Hawk Town Council receives beach monitoring report 

Is more dredging at Port of Wilmington worth the environmental impact? 

Could a prepared food tax help Brunswick maintain its beaches?

Virginia wants more action on climate change. Here's where residents stand on policies.

Dare Requests to Dredge Inlet Year-Round 

Topsail Island beach nourishment projects move forward with no assurances of federal funding

Topsail beaches shaping up for successful tourist season 

Village sand project going strong at Bald Head Island 

USFWS Announces Plans to Revise Hundreds of ESA Recovery Plans 

Our View: How long can we keep shoveling sand against the tides?

Rep. Iler re-introduces ‘meal tax’ to fund beach renourishment projects in Brunswick County

Questions Arise Over Dredge Firm Selection 

Lawmakers Propose Tax for Beach Nourishment (Meals)

Rising beach nest temperatures may become too hot for threatened loggerhead turtles in SC

Beach Nourishment Project Taking Shape As Equipment, Pipes Delivered 

Sea rise along South Carolina coast accelerating faster than realized, researcher says

Mayor Says MOTSU Open To Idea Of Storing Dredge Materials 

Living shoreline to help protect road used by Wright brothers 

PUBLIC NOTICE – The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from Dare County seeking Department of the Army authorization to perform year-round maintenance dredging of the federal project within Oregon Inlet and associated connecting channels, located in the Town Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina. 

Nonprofit Outlines Plan for Topsail Projects 

Widening Southern Shores beach to cost at least $9 million 

There's a new antenna at First Landing State Park and it's helping scientists measure currents 

Sunset Beach Must Redo Dredge Application 

State issues permit for groins at DeBordieu

Charleston glimpses possible storm protections as Army Corps launches flood study 

Beach building is keeping the Atlantic Coast from going under

NEW UPDATE Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I)

Beach renourishment set to begin along the coast 

SC Legislature considers controversial ‘wing wall’ sea walls

Shore Protection Office Newsletter (as presented to the Island Review)
Post-Florence Renourishment Project (Phase I) 

Engineers give new details about $12.7M Daufuskie, Jekyll dredging. Here’s what we know 

Back to where it began? Carolina Beach reportedly greenlit to dump lake spoils on MOTSU land 

Florence’s Toll: Room Tax Revenues In Focus

County gets $5M for beach nourishment from state

Beach Nourishment To Begin Next Week On Pleasure Island 

Sea level rise could cost Virginia Beach billions of dollars, study says 

'Vicious cycle.' Flood program hit by storms, then debt
Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter, January 25, 2019
Will 2019 be the year the National Flood Insurance Program gets its crucial overhaul?  Experts aren't holding their breath.  "My gut says we will get a flood insurance bill out of this Congress," said R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, which has advocated for NFIP reforms. "You'll have to ask me later if it's a bill we like, if it's a bill the nation needs."  The Federal Emergency Management Agency-administered program has faced mounting scrutiny as its costs skyrocketed in 2017 and 2018. Today it is more than $20 billion in debt and has operated on temporary reauthorizations since September 2017.  Over the same period, the United States has suffered billions of additional dollars in property losses from floods, which experts say will only intensify with a warming climate.
In its 2019 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum placed "extreme weather events" and "failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation" on par with "weapons of mass destruction" as the world's greatest threats (Climatewire, Jan. 22).  Scientists and economists have noted that extreme weather events are growing more disruptive and expensive, saddling taxpayers and private-sector insurers with tens of billions of dollars in property claims every year. Meanwhile, federal disaster assistance soared to a record $130 billion in 2017, according to the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.  Jeffrey Czajkowski, the center's managing director, said in an interview that NFIP remains a critical part of the nation's overall flood insurance portfolio. But Congress must take steps to align the program with new realities on the ground, including more realistic assessments of at-risk properties.  Climate change, development and other landscape changes have conspired to make many of the nation's FEMA flood maps useless, he said. And even with updated maps, millions of homeowners risk seeing their homes inundated by floodwater as weather events become more severe and unpredictable.
"I think they need to move away from this dichotomy of whether you're in or out of a designated flood area," Czajkowski said. "It's about getting people to think more holistically about floods. We know that floods don't stop at the boundary of the 100-year flood map, so let's stop using that line as our primary tool for defining who needs insurance."  FEMA currently has more than 5.1 million NFIP policies providing at least $1.3 trillion in coverage for flood damages.  The agency collects only $3.6 billion in annual revenue from premiums, leaving the program exposed to massive shortfalls when multiple flood disasters occur over a relatively short period, as it has since 2016.  NFIP claims from the five most destructive hurricanes of the last two years — Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael — could reach $19 billion, according to experts. That doesn't account for billions of additional NFIP dollars flowing to policyholders in non-hurricane-affected areas, including California and the Mississippi River Basin, both of which have experienced catastrophic flooding over the last 24 months.  Claims that exceed the $3.6 billion in premium revenue is covered by the U.S. Treasury, with a borrowing cap of $30.4 billion. Congress canceled $16 billion of NFIP debt in 2017 to pay claims associated with that year's hurricanes.  But the program quickly took on more debt and currently owes the Treasury $20.5 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Diane Horn, a CRS analyst who tracks NFIP issues for lawmakers, said in a report last week that the program faces two major problems if Congress fails to meet the upcoming reauthorization deadline of May 31.  First, FEMA will no longer have authority to issue new flood insurance contracts. Polices already in force would be good until the end of the next 12-month policy term. FEMA's borrowing authority from the Treasury would also be slashed from $30 billion to $1 billion.  "Other activities of the program would technically remain authorized, such as the issuance of Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants," Horn wrote. "However, the expiration of the key authorities ... would have potentially significant impacts on the remaining NFIP activities."
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats led by Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) are expected to take up NFIP in the early months of the 116th Congress, according to groups who are advocating for reforms.
In her first policy speech as chairwoman last week, Waters cited NFIP as one of the "big issues we are going to try to work on [on] a bipartisan basis."  Among the key hurdles going forward will be gaining support for provisions that address the problem of repetitive-loss properties, defined as buildings and contents for which the NFIP has paid at least two claims of more than $1,000 in any 10-year period since 1978.  Critics say FEMA payments to rebuild thousands of repetitive-loss properties have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars that could be better spent making homes, buildings and communities safer and more resilient to flooding.  "The program is in a vicious cycle of flood, rebuild and debt," said Laura Lightbody, project director for the flood-prepared communities initiative at the Pew Charitable Trusts. "One way to dig out is reducing the amount of times the federal government pays for flooded properties to rebuild again and again."  Reformers have also stressed the need for greater disclosure requirements when flood-prone properties are put on the market, especially when a property has flooded multiple times.
Four GOP-sponsored bills that passed a key House committee last year are being reintroduced, including legislation that would require FEMA to purchase reinsurance policies from the private sector.  The agency already has authority to tap reinsurance and capital markets, and it did so last year and in 2017. The agency has a three-year contract with Hannover Re to secure $500 million of NFIP's financial risk through August 2021.  Other bills forwarded by GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri would allow local communities to develop their own flood maps; require flood insurance premiums to be based on the replacement value of a flood-destroyed property; and allow owners of commercial properties to purchase private flood insurance rather than meet NFIP mandatory purchase requirements.

Oak Island explores service districts for beach funding 

Surf City Addresses Deck Rules, Stirs Debate 

Charleston mayor turns State of the City speech into a deep dive on flooding 

Pender County attempts to clarify hundreds of potentially confusing letters about elevating storm-damaged homes 

$7.8 Million Boost for Myrtle Beach Nourishment 

NEW --- Bogue Banks – Post Florence Florence Replenishment Project Website

Pender County planners mull coastal re-zonings and heightened floodplains regulations 

Judge blocks Trump administration from processing permits for offshore seismic tests 

Surf City grapples with how to replace sand washed away by Florence

Are larger sandbags coming to Bald Head, Caswell Beach? 

With South Ferry Channel Clear, Waterways Commission Turns Their Attention to the New Outer Banks Dredge 

Hurricane Florence Repairs At Camp Lejeune Will Cost Billions, And More Big Storms Are Likely 

NTB outlines projects for hurricane recovery

Coastal counties need to present a united front

Interior updates shutdown plan to push 5-year leasing policy
Kelsey Brugger, E&E News, January 15, 2019
The Trump administration brought employees back to work last Thursday to advance the controversial outer continental shelf five-year leasing plan — just two days after the Interior Department said the work was shelved during the government shutdown.  Last week, Interior updated its contingency plans so 40 employees at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could be available "on an on-call basis to perform the exempt functions of preparing National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Program decision documents."  The work includes conducting environmental review and finalizing seismic testing permits for energy exploration off the Atlantic coast. "In order to comply with the Administration's America First energy strategy to develop a new [outer continental shelf] Oil and Gas leasing program, work must continue toward issuing the Proposed Program per the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act requirements," reads the updated shutdown plan, dated Jan. 8.  That's the same day Interior officials told E&E News in an email that no one at BOEM was working on the five-year plan.
Industry sources had suspected the five-year leasing plan would be delayed due to the government shutdown. Initially, Interior officials contended that was mere speculation, noting a firm publish date was never given.  Today, officials confirmed BOEM employees resumed work on the five-year plan Thursday. They did not respond to further questions by deadline.  The former shutdown plan, dated December 2018, does not mention the outer continental shelf leasing program. It says that BOEM employees would not work on new energy development and that essential employees would permit ongoing work to buttress sister agency the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the offshore regulator.
Last January, the Trump administration's draft five-year plan shocked coastal residents by proposing to open up 90 percent of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling. Interior officials later clarified that the final version would be winnowed down. But environmentalists wasted little time in suing the federal government. Last week, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson — a Republican — intervened to fight energy exploration off the Atlantic coast.  Last week, multiple coastal lawmakers introduced bills to halt the Trump administration's five-year drilling plan. The legislation would prohibit offshore drilling or energy exploration in federal waters off the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Some bills are state-specific, and others span the entire Eastern Seaboard (E&E News PM, Jan. 8).  In recent weeks, critics have cried foul that the Trump administration has given the oil industry special treatment during the shutdown.
Michael Bromwich, the high-profile attorney and an Obama-era director of offshore federal regulation, said the new shutdown plan once again shows the Trump administration's desire to accommodate industry while its own employees are forced to work without pay.  The plan also says if the shutdown extends past today, more employees will be designated as exempt to prepare for upcoming oil leasing sales in the Gulf of Mexico. They will be exempt "only for the amount of time needed to complete this work" and paid with carryover funds.  "Failure to hold these sales would have a negative impact to the Treasury and negatively impact investment in the U.S. Offshore Gulf of Mexico," the plan says.  Offshore wind lease sales, however, appear to be on hold. The updated contingency plan does not mention wind energy. Offshore wind industry sources told Bloomberg today that they are concerned the government shutdown could complicate development in the Northeast.

What’s Going on with the New Dare County Flood Maps? 

Beach renourishment project for Carolina, Kure beaches set to begin in February

Norfolk's $112 million flooding plan will fortify one neighborhood — and test other solutions 

Law Tweaks Coastal Barrier Resource Act 

Frequent flooding causes Nags Head to get creative about resolving problems

Spate of Fed, State Bills Would Block Drilling

Project is potential win-win for Holden Beach and for county 

Artificial reefs and other big ideas under discussion at SC flood panel 

Parts of NC coastline need help due to Hurricane Florence 

NC State Ports Authority Seeks Water Injection Dredge Design-Build & Demonstration Project

California Coastal Commission To Recommend Eminent Domain To Combat Sea-Level Rise?

Largest sand dune on the Outer Banks is moving, threatening nearby homes 

This plant can help save our Lowcountry beaches — and give a salty crunch to our salads 

Another half million to go toward tackling Nags Head flooding 

Their view: Federal flood insurance is a mess and it’s going to be expensive to fix

CRC: Changes to Dune Rules Add Flexibility 

Update: Surf City approves ‘megadecks’ on ‘unbuildable’ oceanfront dune lots

Mason Inlet dredging runs $3.3 million 

Massive Outer Banks sand dunes creep toward homes. Can they be stopped? 

Lidar accelerates hurricane recovery in the Carolinas

USACE Selects 10 Beneficial Use Dredge Material Projects 

‘Wild card’ federal funding to pay SC rookery Crab Bank renourishment

Ever-encroaching sand to be moved again at Jockey’s Ridge 

A reader asked about a living shoreline project. Here's the status and what's coming next. 

Fresh Christmas Trees Useful After Holidays 

Freeman Park property owners allege town is using public trust doctrine to run for-profit operation