We are facing a significant threat to our industry, presented by a recent Biological Opinion (“BiOp”) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) on floodplain development and flood insurance.
A broad coalition has formed, including not only OHBA but also the Oregon Association of Realtors, BOMA Oregon, the Association of Oregon Industries, the Oregon Farm Bureau, and the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association. In addition, we anticipate that we’ll be joined by the Oregon Forest Industries Council, Oregonians in Action and the Portland Business Alliance, as well as by individual Oregon businesses and property owners who will be negatively affected should the issue go unchallenged. Our national association, NAHB, is also involved and is helping fund our efforts.
In a nutshell, we are deeply concerned by the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and NMFS to require more restrictive regulations to floodplain areas, because we believe they will unnecessarily restrict development and up-end years of land use planning in Oregon.
Our Coalition believes this is intolerable, and we organized ourselves to invalidate the BiOp and to halt FEMA’s efforts to force local jurisdictions to implement it. Last month, we sent letters to FEMA and NMFS outlining our plans to challenge the BiOp, and we plan to file suit early next year unless FEMA and NMFS withdraw the BiOp and return to the drawing board regarding this consultation.
Click on the links below to read the full letters.
We frankly do not anticipate that the agencies will stand down, so we fully expect that we’ll have to sue. When we do, we anticipate being joined by cities and counties throughout Oregon, all of whom will be affected by the BiOp, may be exposed to legal liability for reducing property values, and will see their land use and infrastructure plans thrown out.
We’ll keep you posted, of course, and if you have any questions, please let us know.