Hurricane Irene: Flood Insurance & Beach Repair May Be Excessive

Projects Expensive & Encourage High Risk Development


Source: NCPA

DALLAS - In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, state and federal government focus is turning to the erosion damage that Irene’s battering tides caused to the beaches along the east coast into New England.  

National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett opposes restoration in high-risk coastline, saying, “Historically, the government has demonstrated a knee-jerk response to replenish or restore the beaches, as closely as possible, to their former conditions.”

“This time of tight budgets provides us the opportunity to thoughtfully re-examine the idea that the government should spend scarce resources restoring beaches and continuing to encourage construction in flood-prone areas through federal flood insurance,” said Burnett.  “Beach replenishment projects are expensive and encourage poor development decisions by subsidizing development in high risk areas at the expense of the environment.”

 He adds, “This is an especially egregious program since, in many instances, it amounts to welfare for the well-to-do.  More than 70 percent of the coastline in the lower 48 states is privately owned, while state and local governments own most of the rest. Homes with beach access or an ocean view are highly valued. Thus flood insurance, beach-erosion control and disaster loans often subsidize higher income homeowners.”

Burnett cites an earlier NCPA study on the issue: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st282?pg=4

To schedule an interview, you can reach Sterling Burnett at 214-308-6462 or sterling.burnett@ncpa.org, or you may contact Catherine Daniell at 972-308-6479.

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