The UNC Environmental Finance Center (EFC) typically focuses on the role of local governments in directly providing and funding basic community environmental services such as water, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste management. For example, the EFC recently released a set of resources related to local government stormwater fees that local programs use to fund their stormwater services. These types of resources help local governments raise funds for critical environmental protection activities but there are other ways that local governments can play a role in supporting environmental finance.
Recent news out of Brunswick County, North Carolina, highlights the fact that local governments can have a significant impact on environmental expenses paid to other branches of government as well. Continue reading
Throughout 2017, there has been discussion in Congress surrounding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire tomorrow, Dec. 8. The program was established in 1968 as a service to at-risk communities by providing flood insurance in exchange for communities’ adoption of floodplain management regulations. Today, while many sources expect at least a short-term reauthorization, the program insures approximately 5 million homes throughout the country.
Looking at the recent history of legislation surrounding the program, national flood insurance premiums look likely to increase in coming years. In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, resulting in the planned removal of subsidies from the flood insurance policies. This would have increased premiums by up to 10 times in some cases. Though this law was replaced in 2014 by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, price increases are likely to return in coming years, as current estimations show that NFIP policies are being given at approximately half of the market rate. However, there are still ways communities can use the NFIP to their full advantage while bolstering against future price increases and preparing for flood disasters. Continue reading
Millions of United States citizens continue to battle the effects of massive hurricanes this month. Many have lost electric and water service. As water and wastewater utilities struggle to get their systems up and running again, some are in a better position than others. What makes a utility more resilient in the face of this type of natural disaster?