Richard Nixon photo

Statement on Signing the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

December 31, 1973

IN MY message to the Congress on national legislative goals this past September, I expressed my strong conviction that we can do a better job in preparing for disasters and in providing assistance to those who are hardest hit.

The measure that I am signing today, the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (H.R. 8449), will help us to do that better job.

More than 90 percent of all property damage caused by natural disasters results from floods. This legislation, which expands and improves the National Flood Insurance Program, will permit us to prepare more adequately against this threat. It will help motivate communities with special flood hazards to look ahead, recognize their vulnerability, and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Under the act, homeowners, businessmen, and others will be able to purchase significantly increased amounts of flood insurance at reduced rates. For example, homeowners will be able to purchase up to $35,000 of insurance at rates of only 25 cents per $ 100 of coverage. The owner of a $20,000 home can thus buy full coverage for only $50 a year. Small businessmen and others can avail themselves of up to $200,000 of coverage.

The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 will call upon owners of property in flood-prone areas to purchase flood insurance if they are to benefit from financial assistance for their property from the Federal Government or from any federally insured, regulated, or supervised lending institution. It will also encourage forward-looking local officials to adopt and to enforce adequate and appropriate land use and other control measures to reduce the probability of losses resulting from floods.

This new law will also permit us to improve our post disaster assistance programs by substituting insurance indemnification-speedy, direct, and with minimal red tape--for the current system of disaster loans, a system which often adds to the financial burdens for distressed disaster victims rather than alleviating them.

This new law recognizes that a complete resolution of the problems of floods and flood-related losses cannot be achieved overnight. Thus, it extends the present emergency flood insurance program for an additional 2 years, while rate studies are being completed. Under the act, all Federal agencies must cooperate in the accelerated identification of flood-prone areas; a definite method is provided for local communities to give information and advice to the Federal officials responsible for the identification of those areas.

We cannot determine whether or when natural disasters will strike our country, but we can take reasonable steps to prepare for them in ways which will minimize their impact and speed our recovery from their effects. H.R. 8449 represents an important forward step in this effort, and it is with .pleasure and satisfaction that I sign it into law.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 8449 is Public Law 93-134 (87 Stat. 975).

The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

On the same day, the White House released a fact sheet and the transcript of a news briefing on the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 by James T. Lynn, Secretary, and George K. Bernstein, Federal Insurance Administrator, Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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