Sen. Bill Nelson pushing for flood insurance relief - WFLA News Channel 8

Sen. Bill Nelson pushing for flood insurance relief

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CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. could discuss the controversial flood insurance rate hikes as early as next Monday, according to Senator Bill Nelson, who was in Clearwater for an MLK celebration at Coachman Park on Monday.

Thousands of Florida property owners could be on the hook for exponentially higher rates because of the increases.

Angela Leonardo of New Port Richey says she received notice that her rates would go from $1,100 a month to more than $8,000. She says that type of increase could force her and her husband out of their home.

"I want it be more affordable and a reasonable rate so that we could stay here," said Leonardo in an interview earlier this month. "We want our home, we love this home. We've found our church. We have friends here, finally, and we don't want to move."

Senator Bill Nelson hopes to discuss the issue next Monday.

"To me, it's just unconscionable. I've given five speeches on the floor of the senate about this and it is just unconscionable that this was never intended and that people are trying to block us from giving some relief to people instead of having them pay a premium that is ten times higher," said Nelson.

The senator says the federal crisis came, not as the result of any natural disaster, but the breaking of a dike post Hurricane Katrina.

"When the water rose in Lake Pontchartrain and the canals, the pressure increased, the wall of the dike broke, and it filled up the bowl of New Orleans. That was the huge loss that is attributable to the federal flood insurance program," said Nelson.

Last week, lawmakers approved a bill that would delay any increases until September 30th, but that is only a temporary fix.


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