Thirteen national environmental organizations and the American Red Cross are waging an eleventh hour lobbying effort to win a presidential veto of authorizing legislatio for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, because of a flood insurance amendement appended to the act.
The Housing and Community Development Act of 1977 now sits on a opment Act of 1977 now sits on a White House Domestic Policy staff member's desk in the old old Executive Office Building, awaiting her recommendation on the legislation before it is sent to President Carter.
An enviromental consortium headed by the natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and the Sierra Club is attempting to influence that reccommendation toward a veto because of an amendment to the act which would cripple the already troubled national flood insurance program.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo) and Rep. Gene Taylor (R-Mo), would permit federally chartered, private mortage leders to finance residential and Commercial construction in the flood plains of communities that do no participate in the national flood insurance program.
Currently, the program offers feder ally-backed flood insurance policies to residents of communities located in flood plains. The Flood Disaster Protection Act which overs the insurance program also provides that federally chartered banks and other mortage lending institutions be barred from financing constructions in flood plains unless the project meets costly, flood prevention specifications.
The Eagleton/Taylor amendment passed both the House and Senate after hard-fought battles.
In a June 3 memo from HUD Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris to Carter, she noted that the amendment was "vigorously opposed" by HUD. Office of Management and Budget, Council on Enviromental Quality and other federal agencies.
J. Robert Hunter Jr., acting administrator of the Federal Insurance Administration, has estimated that increased flood lossed with the construction permitted by the Eagleton amendament could reach $200 million annually.