Date: January 26, 2011
Contacts: Contact: Jim Murphy, (802) 552-4325, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patty Glick, (206) 577-7825, email@example.com
Manley Fuller, (850) 567-7129, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Appelson, (352) 373-6441, email@example.com
The agreement concludes a federal case brought by National Wildlife Federation and Florida Wildlife Federation challenging FEMA’s practice of issuing federal flood insurance in storm surge areas along the Florida coast. Under the NFIP, FEMA subsidizes insurance for buildings in areas prone to storm surges, providing insurance that is not available on the private market. Making this insurance generally available directly enables the development of Florida’s delicate beaches, which sustain 90 percent of turtle nesting habitat in the United States.
“Subsidizing development in storm surge areas not only destroys habitat, but also puts communities at risk and wastes taxpayer money,” said Manley Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation. “This settlement will require FEMA to scrutinize its flood insurance program as it relates to wildlife and maybe even use a bit more common sense before issuing flood insurance in our state.”
“This agreement will put an end to the perverse federal insurance subsidies that encourage inappropriate and harmful new construction in important sea turtle habitat,” said Jim Murphy, lead counsel for National Wildlife Federation on the lawsuit. “Yet even this major victory alone is not enough to save sea turtles from the onslaught they face.”
According to a new report released in conjunction with lawsuit settlement, sea turtles face an uncertain future in America. Sea Turtle Homecoming, Class of 2010: A Proactive Conservation Agenda for Florida catalogues the array of threats facing sea turtles, including loss of habitat, beach armoring, harmful fishing practices, marine pollution, oil spills and climate change. In response to these threats, the report lays out four key actions needed to ensure a safe future for sea turtles in Florida:
Uphold adequate funding and support for the development and implementation of the Florida Beaches Habitat Conservation Plan
Eliminate costly subsidies that encourage inappropriate and harmful new construction and rebuilding in ecologically important and high hazard coastal areas
Enhance protection of less-developed coastal lands by supporting targeted land acquisitions and increased incentives
Commit to meaningful strategies to combat climate change by implementing recommendations established under Florida’s 2008 Energy and Climate Change Action Plan
“Our report asks people to think about what kind of homecoming turtle hatchlings that emerged this year can expect when they return in 30 years,” said Patty Glick, Global Warming Specialist at the National Wildlife Federation. “More importantly, it lets people know that we all play a role in determining how positive that homecoming will be.”
The report was released jointly by National Wildlife Federation, Florida Wildlife Federation and the Sea Turtle Conservancy. By highlighting the human-caused threats facing sea turtles, the groups hope to motivate Floridians to take the actions needed to save them.
“The BP oil spill disaster was a major wake-up call for Floridians,” said Gary Appelson, Policy Coordinator for the Sea Turtle Conservancy. “It took something that huge to remind us what is at stake for our state. Florida’s beaches and the wildlife they sustain are a national treasure. It is time we all play a larger role in safekeeping that treasure for future generations.”
About the Groups Involved:
National Wildlife Federation is America’s conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
The Florida Wildlife Federation is a private, statewide, non-profit citizens’ conservation education organization composed of thousands of concerned Floridians and other citizens from all walks of life who have a common interest in preserving, managing, and improving Florida’s fish, wildlife, soil, water, and plant life.
It is the mission of the Sea Turtle Conservancy to ensure the survival of sea turtles through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend.