Americans back tough limits on building in fire and flood zones

Source(s): New York Times, the
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By Christopher Flavelle

WASHINGTON - Americans support far more aggressive government regulation to fight the effects of climate change than elected officials have been willing to pursue so far, new research shows, including outright bans on building in flood- or fire-prone areas — a level of restrictiveness almost unheard-of in the United States.


But while the findings show bipartisan support, more stringent restrictions have been generally opposed by local officials, who cite the cost they would impose on the economy. “There’s a disconnect between public preference and public policy,” said Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford University who led the project.


A wave of disasters has pushed some cities and counties to limit where they build. The new survey — a joint project of Stanford; Resources for the Future, a Washington research group; and ReconMR, a survey research company — asked whether governments should require that new buildings in risky areas “need to be made in a way that doesn’t get damaged easily by floods.”


The lack of tougher codes reflects the influence of home builders and developers on local officials who oppose tougher restrictions, said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and chief executive officer of the organization. “They are really well organized, and that’s what they advocate for,” she said.

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