Fee Waiver Amendment Would Help River Restoration Projects

Feb 2, 2014

Local nonprofits, cities, and towns across Rhode Island working to restore river habitats may benefit from an amendment tucked into a bill aimed at providing temporary relief to homeowners facing sharp rate increases in their flood insurance policies. That bill passed in the Senate on Thursday.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the amendment that would get rid of expensive permit fees for such projects as dam removals, culvert redesigns, and fish ladder installations.

Whitehouse said the federal government usually waives the fee, but “the whole fee waiver application can be as big of a nuisance and as expensive as the underlying $5,500 fee.” 

So Whitehouse introduced the amendment to simplify the process.

“So this amendment basically strips out the fee requirement entirely, which is harmless to the federal government, because they weren’t collecting it anyway, and it relieves the local organizations of the burden of having to put in a somewhat complex fee waiver application,” said Whitehouse.

The amendment was added to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. It now goes to the House where it faces an uncertain future.