Virginia needs strong leadership to enhance infrastructure that will protect Virginia’s coastal communities from damaging flooding. Ed will reform state programs that prevent or reduce flooding risk, address sea level rise, and adapt to living with water.
As our localities plan for investment in Virginia’s communities, the Commonwealth should urge localities to make decisions that ensure capital improvement decisions benefit sea level rise adaptation.
Ed will fight to make flood insurance affordable for Virginia families and businesses by lowering costs through the community rating program and pushing for sufficient coverage for those who need it.
The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
In partnership with an infrastructure approach to sea-level rise, Ed will work to maximize Virginia’s coastal communities CRS to lower insurance costs for families and businesses.
Ed will fight to improve our communities’ ratings, which could save Virginia families and businesses between 5% to 45% each year on flood insurance premiums. If you pay $700 per year now for flood insurance, this could mean savings of up to $315 per year. If you pay more than that, your savings could be even greater. When Norfolk recently improved from a class 9 to a class 8 ranking, it saved almost 7,000 residents 10% on premiums, for an average of $107 per year.
Recurrent flooding is not an issue unique to our coastal communities but a problem across the Commonwealth. We’ve seen significant flooding from Arlington County to Virginia Beach to the river valleys across our mountain regions. This is clearly a statewide issue and requires a statewide response.
The Netherlands created an export industry of dealing with flooding adaptation. Virginia should lead with innovation to create job and investment opportunities for coastal Virginia.
Two-thirds of the Netherlands would flood without the interventions the Dutch have pioneered. They turned this challenge into an opportunity, and today Dutch companies have cornered 40% of the accessible global market for water management, which makes up 2% of their country’s GDP.
Coastal Virginia is experiencing the challenges of flooding and sea level rise before many other cities will, and as we develop innovative solutions, we can grow our economy by helping other cities up and down the U.S. coasts.
A Gillespie Administration will work with Norfolk Naval Base and other Hampton Roads military installations to ensure these assets and their personnel are protected from flooding and sea level rise, and their duties to protect our country are not at risk of being hindered by flooding.
Virginia’s military installations inject billions of dollars into our Commonwealth’s economy and our military personnel are vital to our Commonwealth. A Gillespie Administration will fight to ensure our military installations in Virginia can continue their mission-critical work to keep our nation safe.
The Norfolk Naval Base floods 9-10 times time per year today from tidal flooding, and impassable flooded roads in Norfolk could delay deployment for the 22,000 military personnel who live in the city. Without action, tidal flooding could increase to 280 days per year by 2050.
Langely-Eustis provides $2.4 billion annually to the local economy and supports over 8,000 military personnel, 10,000 family members, and 12,000 students. Langley floods 9 days per year today from tidal flooding. If we don’t take action, the base could flood 280 times per year from tidal flooding by 2050 (under an intermediate estimate for sea level rise). While Langley has taken action to protect against flooding, there is much more to do to prepare for what could come.
Ed will ensure localities have the authority they need to address sea level rise and coastal flooding. Sea level rise does not recognize municipal or political boundaries. We need to ensure localities have the tools necessary to solve problems and to do so on a regional basis when possible.
Ed and his cabinet will review needed authority and provide localities appropriate authority to take action. Further, state policy will encourage localities to consider sea level rise and flooding in capital planning decisions to make sure the infrastructure we are paying for can effectively serve citizens for decades to come.
Ed will designate a member of his administration to serve as the Coastal Flooding Adaptation Officer, responsible for generating solutions for flooding adaptation in the Commonwealth. The officer will be charged with working with stakeholders and partners to provide a holistic response, including being a liaison to the Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding, working with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William & Mary, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Old Dominion University, the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, the military, business and environmental stakeholders, local government and citizens, as well as leaders from other coastal states.
A Gillespie Administration will ensure that our resources are being spent wisely and that our agencies are working together to address sea-level rise and flooding adaptation. Ed will request an audit of each state agency from housing to social services to conservation to look at how we can improve interagency coordination and how we can use our resources more efficiently to ensure that the funds are being expended to protect our citizens, reduce flood risk, and lower the economic impact felt throughout the state.