Texas Military Department / Flickr harvey flood rescue...
Texas Military Department / Flickr

My, how a couple Hurricanes can change things:

Three weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that reversed an Obama-era requirement that future construction in areas likely to flood need to be built at a higher elevation. But after the devastation Hurricane Harvey caused in Houston and with Hurricane Irma barreling toward Florida, the White House is now trying to walk back Trump’s order.

In his senseless, manic quest to destroy the legacy of the best President of the Millennium, Trump found an easy target: federal regulations that burdened poor, struggling real estate developers by requiring them to account for sea rise in their construction plans if they wanted to receive federal taxpayer dollars:

In 2015, the Obama White House updated flood-risk standards for the first time since the 1970s, incorporating climate models and sea-level rise into calibrations for building elevations. The new standard meant that any federally funded building in flood plains must be built at higher elevations, especially for critical infrastructure like hospitals and fire stations. On August 15, Trump erased those standards with one line buried in a broader infrastructure order.

In one stroke he not only stuck it to the Black Guy but also poked a thumb in the eyes of those scrawny environmentalists, while simultaneously rewarding his developer buddies who could now push their lucrative shoreline properties without the costly hassle of having to plan for imaginary nonsense like ”climate change.”  Now they could go back to the good old days, where you just collected your cut and moved on, leaving someone else to deal with the consequences. Your fire house got washed away?  Sorry, not my problem. Basement ruined by floodwater?  Gee that’s terrible, better luck next time.

That day there were backslaps and guffaws in the Oval Office. Scott Pruitt did a little victory jig, no doubt. 

Then someone chanced to look out the window and noticed the dark clouds swirling in the Gulf and the fourth largest city in the country submerged in their aftermath.  And now, the Western half of Florida is about to experience something—well, we don’t know what yet, but we know it’s going to be bad. And its going to involve flooding. Lots of it.

So to avoid looking like a a bunch of short-sighted idiots, they’re singing a different tune now at the White House:

On Friday, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert told reporters that the White House might put out another executive order or additional guidance in the next month. “We shouldn’t use federal money to rebuild in ways that don’t anticipate future flood risk,” Bossert said. “So we need to build back smarter and stronger against flood plain concerns when we use federal dollars.”

Which is exactly what President Obama did. But it’s nice to see you admit it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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