The issue of flood insurance has been in the news a lot lately due to recent floods, as well as the damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. In addition, without further Congressional action, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire on December 8, 2017. This program will first provide a brief overview of the NFIP, including who and what is covered (or not) by NFIP-backed flood insurance, and how private insurance fits in. After this introduction, the program will explore the challenges facing individuals and local communities in addressing coverage and land use planning issues. Molly Lawrence, a practicing attorney based out of Seattle, Washington will discuss the issues that have arisen in the states of Oregon and Washington where coverage under the NFIP has ended up in direct conflict with the Endangered Species Act. Lara Fowler, a senior lecturer at Penn State Law, will then discuss the challenges facing historic communities in Pennsylvania that pre-date the NFIP. Molly and Lara will end the program by giving an update on the current status of the NFIP, as well as any pending congressional action. There will be time for Q&A and discussion.
Ronnie Gosselin, Alston & Bird, Atlanta, Georgia
Lara Fowler, Penn State Law, University Park, Pennsylvania
Lara Fowler is a mediator and an attorney focused on all things water, energy, and dispute resolution. Prior to joining Penn State in 2012, she worked on public policy issues for the Oregon Water Resources Department, attended the University of Washington School of Law, and practiced with a law firm in Seattle, Washington. As a private practitioner, she helped facilitate discussions on how to address chronic flooding issues in Washington State’s second largest river basin. In addition to serving as a mediator on other water related issues, she also counseled private clients on various regulatory matters, both water and energy related. She now holds a joint appointment as a Senior Lecturer at Penn State Law and the Assistant Director for Outreach and Engagement with Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment. She is currently researching how water, energy, and conflict play out in a region that includes Marcellus Shale development, the Chesapeake Bay, biofuels, and flood-prone rivers. She recently finalized a research study looking at the impacts of the National Flood Insurance Program on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Molly Lawrence, Van Ness Feldman LLP, Seattle, Washington
Molly counsels public and private clients in all facets of law related to land use and development. She is highly-skilled at helping clients navigate overlapping and divergent federal, state, and local statutes and regulations. Her practice focuses on assisting clients in developing comprehensive permitting strategies, and counseling them through the regulatory process from project conception to construction. When necessary to facilitate project development, Molly assists clients in drafting and advancing changes in the laws and regulations through the legislative and rule making processes. In addition to permitting and legislative work, Molly regularly litigates land use and environmental matters before local governments, and in state and federal court. Increasingly, Molly has developed a specialty helping clients address ongoing changes in the regulations affecting development within floodplains, including changes in floodplain mapping and evolving Endangered Species Act requirements.
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§ This program will not offer CLE.