Conservation groups in Oregon are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency over its flood-insurance program, which they say puts fish, orcas and people at risk.
The lawsuit, filed late last week, claims that FEMA encourages floodplain development in Oregon’s high-hazard areas by allowing property owners to buy affordable insurance to protect their homes from flood damage in those areas.
The construction in flood plains, in turn, harms natural floodplain functions and destroys the habitat of threatened and endangered species, including 15 salmon species and salmon-dependent orcas, the suit says.
The lawsuit comes 14 years after conservation groups in Oregon first filed a legal action seeking to reform the federal flood-insurance program. FEMA and the plaintiffs, some of the same ones bringing the new lawsuit, settled the first one.