On August 1, 2011 a Federal Judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Metro East communities challenging levee de-accreditation after the defendant, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced in open court that it had abandoned its proposal to de-accredit the Metro East levee systems. Judge J. Phil Gilbert ruled that the lawsuit was now moot, since FEMA insisted that the preliminary flood insurance rate maps no longer had any official status, now that the agency had agreed to reconsider the methods by which the maps are drawn. This is a good outcome for our area, but does not mean that FEMA will not issue new maps in the future. The agency has refused to provide any timetable for issuance of new maps and has not yet determined the methods that they will use to determine levee accreditation or how areas behind de-accredited levees will be shown on those maps. It does appear that this announcement by FEMA and decision by Judge Gilbert will mean another, perhaps substantial, delay before new maps are issued. FEMA has also indicated that there will be a new administrative appeal process once new maps are produced. Everything considered, this is a good outcome for us because it allows added time to further improve the levee system — improvements that will eliminate all doubt about the safety and future accreditation of Metro East levee systems.
A copy of Judge Gilbert’s memorandum and order dismissing the lawsuit is available here, along with our statement on the outcome of the lawsuit. All other major documents related to the lawsuit can be found in the document center under FEMA Lawsuit Documents.