The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced it is delaying the implementation of the controversial flood insurance rate maps in Plymouth County until at least 2015.
FEMA announced in a letter on Friday that it needs more time to review the comments and appeals on maps, which would expand flood zones and raise water levels, and trigger huge flood insurance rate increases in areas across the South Shore.
A Massachusetts Congressional Delegation submitted a letter questioning the methodology behind the maps, saying it is based on a Pacific coast model which may not be accurate for the Atlantic Coast. FEMA responded in its announcement on Friday that the model it used, while initially developed for the Pacific coast environment, has been deemed appropriate for the Atlantic coast as well.
This announcement from FEMA comes after the U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday which would delay the premium increases for up to four years.
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey praised passage of the bill, which would also allow homeowners with subsidized insurance policies to pass them on to people who buy their homes.
U.S. Rep. William Keating called for the House to quickly approve the bill as well, when lawmakers come back into session Monday.
Keating called the bill “the only responsible and democratic course of action on an issue that affects so many lives.”