The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council has run into a frustrating wall of silence in its bid to get federal re-evaluation of flood maps for Washington County. CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate told Providence Business News in a Page 1 story the maps understate the vulnerability of beachfront communities to future storms.
The council first complained to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in November 2012, claiming the maps fail to recognize dunes in R.I. are typically wiped out by even moderate storms. The agency brushed off that concern and others. Follow-up letters sent to FEMA in August and October seeking a ruling on whether the maps conflict with state coastal-management policies have gone unanswered.
CRMC should not let the matter die. One option is to seek a federal mediator to ensure its concerns are taken seriously.
Damage in coastal towns from storms in recent years has been significant. But the sobering reality is that the last so-called 100-year storm to hit the state was the Hurricane of 1938.
When the next such storm hits, more-lenient maps - used to weigh the risks of living along the coast and to build defenses - will offer solace to no one. •