Ohio River residents in E. Ky. at risk of losing federal flood i - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ohio River residents in E. Ky. at risk of losing federal flood insurance

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Residents of Greenup County, Ky., may be barred from buying federal flood insurance starting next month because local officials haven't met the program's requirements, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Monday.

FEMA issued formal warnings to Greenup and local governments in four other states – most notably Pittsburgh and other cities in Allegheny County, Pa. -- in a notice published in the Federal Register, the journal for U.S. government agency actions.

Greenup County, which borders the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky and includes a stretch of the Little Sandy River, is at risk of losing access to discounted flood insurance for the entire county, according to the federal notice.

County and city officials have until Sept. 26 to comply with unspecified floodplain management rules. According to U.S. law, local governments must have flood-related ordinances and other measures in place before their residents can buy federal insurance.

“They need to get this straightened out,” said Steve Noe, chairman of the Kentucky Association of Mitigation Managers. “It's a big thing when it gets published in the Federal Register.”

The office of Greenup County Judge-Executive Robert Carpenter, who was unavailable Monday, referred a reporter to a county official who did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

FEMA plans to cancel the sale of flood insurance in seven Greenup County cities. Mayor Bob Crager, whose city FEMA is targeting, said in a phone interview that several governments in Greenup have floodplain ordinances that haven't yet been re-approved.

He said he expects his city won't be suspended from participating in the program.

“We'll be in compliance,” Crager said.

But if Greenup officials don't come into compliance, property owners would be prohibited from buying new policies and renewing existing ones, Noe said, adding that private flood insurance is “extremely expensive” – in some cases 10 times more costly than policies purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Most Kentucky cities and counties participate in the program, which allows property owners to protect their buildings and belongings from flood damage regardless of whether officials issue a federal disaster declaration, according to FEMA.

Only five of Kentucky's 120 counties, and 47 of 419 incorporated cities and other communities, choose not to participate in the national program, according to Kentucky Emergency Management.

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