From E&E News:

President Trump might have warned the mayor of a disappearing island not to worry about sea-level rise, but the federal government considers it a risk to the projects it funds.

The Trump administration has successfully rolled back many of the Obama-era environmental regulations. But one remains intact: The flood standard, enshrined in Executive Order 13690 and introduced two years ago, requires federal agencies to ensure that public infrastructure is built to withstand rising sea levels and extreme weather events, two primary effects of climate change being felt around the country.

The flood standard requires that roads, public housing, water treatment plants and other federal infrastructure projects be built at least 2 feet above the 100-year flood standard. Fire departments, hospitals and other critical facilities must be built 3 feet above that level.

The federal flood standard was slated to be cut along with a series of other Obama-era climate initiatives under Trump’s sprawling executive order that included rolling back the Clean Power Plan.

It came at a time when the administration was also considering putting $1 trillion into infrastructure projects. But steady pressure in recent months from some influential conservatives kept Obama’s flood provision alive.

The importance of maintaining the flood standard makes sense apart from the political arguments related to climate policy, said Eli Lehrer, president of the libertarian R Street Institute and an expert on flood policy.

“The standard is an example of pure fiscal common sense,” he said. “There is no scenario regarding sea-level rise under which the standard does not make sense. If sea-level rise continues at historical levels, it makes sense; if it slows, it makes sense; and if it accelerates, it makes sense. So it’s simply a standard that says don’t build in really stupid places.”

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