Washington Post: In major shift, Obama administration will plan for rising seas in all federal projects

January 30, 2015

In a Washington Post story by Juliet Eilperin, Vicki Arroyo comments on a new executive order by President Obama that will direct "federal agencies–as well as state and local governments drawing on federal funds–to adopt stricter building and siting standards to reflect scientific projections that future flooding will be more frequent and intense due to climate change."

The new standard gives agencies three options for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area they use in siting, design, and construction of federal projects.  They can use data and methods “informed by best-available, actionable climate science”; build two feet above the 100-year flood elevation for standard projects, and three feet above for critical buildings like hospitals and evacuation centers; or build to the 500-year flood elevation.


In an interview, Georgetown Climate Center executive director Vicki Arroyo said the new policy “a positive step to be more prepared for the threat that we’re already facing from rising sea levels and more intense storms.”

“We have to start applying what the science is telling us, and what we’re seeing from recent events, to investment decisions and codes and standards—ideally at all levels of government,” Arroyo said.