CLENDENIN, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, today announced the appointment of five House members to the new Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding, created under House Bill 2935, which also established the state “Resiliency and Flood Protection Planning Act.”
Delegate Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, will serve as the House chairman of the committee, with Delegates George “Boogie” Ambler, R-Greenbrier; Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette; Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier; and Dana Lynch, D-Webster, also serving on the committee.
“The people who live in the flooded communities have endured tremendous challenges and have worked together to meet those challenges over the past year,” Speaker Armstead said. “As we approach the one-year anniversary of last year’s devastating floods, we need to examine what we as a state can do to help prevent or respond to future disasters and remove any roadblocks that would hinder our first responders, volunteers and governmental agencies from assisting our citizens.
“While we can’t stop the rains, we owe it to those who died or were affected by these floods to do whatever we can to protect lives, prevent flooding and mitigate damage from future floods,” Speaker Armstead said.
The committee appointments were announced during a press conference with Gov. Jim Justice and other local leaders ahead of Friday’s one-year anniversary of the 2016 floods that devastated the state. Gov. Justice conducted a ceremonial bill signing of House Bill 2935 during the press conference.
The Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding, created by the bill, will study all activities relating to flood protection and shall make recommendations and offer solutions to reduce the reality and threat of future loss of life and property damages associated with flooding.
The bill also creates the State Resiliency Office under the Department of Commerce. The Resiliency Office’s board will consist of various representatives from state agencies that respond to or work to prevent flooding.
Among its responsibilities, the Resiliency Office will be charged with reviewing the state’s flood protection plan on a regular basis, coordinating flood projects with federal agencies, improving professional management of flood plains, pursuing additional funds and resources to aid in disaster prevention and recovery, and working with all levels of government to coordinate economic and community resiliency planning and implementation efforts.
The chairman of the Resiliency Office will report to the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding on at least a quarterly basis on its activities and any recommendations to improve the state’s flood protection planning.