Once again Boise City Councilors have continued the policy of “we know better.” This time it is with the Government of the United States of America’s flood experts.
Seems the Feds have redrawn the flood plain map along the Boise river to include additional acres of land subject to a “100 year flood.” That term means there is a 1% chance of a flood each year. STATESMAN reporter Sven Berg has a big take on the issue in Thursday’s paper.
At issue is flood insurance–issued by the Feds for homes along the river. They will not issue the insurance within the zone unless the structures meet certain grade requirements. Lenders will not loan money without the insurance. Of course, the big elephant in the room is developers who stand to lose out on potential huge sums of cash for construction of subdivisions. The developments would be all along the river, not just within the city of Boise.
To make their case, Boise Councilors authorized their own study not to exceed $25,000. The City is at odds with the Feds and since the expenditure is under $25,000 there is no need to get bids, hence the study contract can go to whomever the city selects along with what we suggest will be a pre-determined outcome.
One factor no one has mentioned is the giant “sponge” north of the river–mainly the foothills–that has been effectively “wrapped in plastic film” through rooftops, driveways, and street surfaces…the only place for runoff to go is the river. So despite the Lucky Peak Dam, there is a risk, however slight, of flooding in lowland areas.
Regardless of how one feels about the Feds and FEMA, it seems absurd that a $25,000 study by Boise would be scientifically more accurate than that of the U.S. Government. AND, we get to pay twice.
These political negotiations over scientific data are nothing new. Here is what we posted in the GUARDIAN 10 years ago.
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