July 8, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would create pre-disaster mitigation loan program to help vulnerable small businesses take preventative action to prepare for future flooding events

Today, Congressman Joe Morelle introduced new legislation to help protect small businesses from the devastating impacts of flooding. The Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Morelle (D-NY-25), Bergman (R-MI-01), Golden (D-ME-02), and Stauber (R-MN-08), would create a Small Business Administration (SBA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Loan Program to help small businesses take preventative action to bolster their infrastructure in preparation for future flooding events.

“Our community knows all too well how devastating flooding can be to local businesses—many of which are already struggling with the severe financial impacts of COVID-19,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “It’s more important now than ever that we take preventative action to prepare for future flooding and protect our small businesses from additional economic hardship. Strong mitigation efforts are the key to our resiliency, and that’s why I’m so proud to introduce this much-needed legislation to help strengthen coastal communities.”

“The First District of Michigan has more shoreline than any Congressional District in the nation. Many businesses face the threat of devastating floods and increased uncertainty as water levels across the Great Lakes region continue rising and natural disasters strike,” said Rep. Jack Bergman. “The PREPARE Act is a step forward in helping businesses across the nation create mitigation plans to ensure their viability and resiliency for the future.”

“Small businesses located on Maine’s coastline and riversides frequently deal with flooding, which can threaten good jobs and now our economic recovery due to business delays and property damage,” said Congressman Jared Golden. “The best way to protect small businesses and workers from natural disasters like floods is to be well-prepared. I am glad to be joining this bipartisan bill to help small businesses access the capital they need to plan for and mitigate flooding risks and other disasters.”

“As a small business owner, I understand that businesses often face obstacles that are outside of their control,” said Congressman Peter Stauber. “While small businesses work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we take preemptive steps to protect our small businesses from additional hurdles that may cause further economic harm. Therefore, I am proud to back bipartisan legislation that will help small businesses strengthen their infrastructure, helping to prepare for the possibility of future flooding.”

“There is no question that natural disasters across the nation are becoming more common and severe, devastating communities and small businesses as a result,” said Marine Retailers Association of the Americas government relations manager Adam Fortier-Brown. “As small businesses drive our nation’s economic recovery, they must be equipped to protect themselves now and in the future from the existential threat that disasters pose. The PREPARE Act will give small businesses an important tool to invest in modern resilient infrastructure to protect their organization, and continue to fuel job growth and prosperity in communities across the nation.  We hope this sees swift consideration by the House, and are thankful for the leadership of Representatives Joe Morelle, Jack Bergman, Jared Golden, and Pete Stauber on this critical issue.”

Natural disasters are increasing in frequency, costing the United States $800 Billion in the last decade alone. Rochester and the Great Lakes region have experienced severe flooding in recent years, devastating homes and businesses along the lakeshore. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) statistics show that about half (40-60%) of small businesses never reopen following a disaster, and every $1 spent on mitigation saves taxpayers an average of $6. The PREPARE Act would help small businesses like lakeside restaurants, marinas, and boat yards take preventative action to strengthen mitigation efforts to lessen the impact of future flooding events.

The legislation would authorize a pre-disaster mitigation loan pilot program, made available through the SBA, to provide low-interest, fixed rate loans to small businesses to implement mitigation measures to protect against disaster related damages. Loans can be up to $500,000 and will be made available to qualifying states, localities, and small businesses.

“Small, family owned recreational boating businesses are among the most susceptible to the devastation of erosion, rising water levels and many additional effects of climate change,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association’s director of government relations, Callie Hoyt. “Reauthorizing the Small Business Administration’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Loan program would make these businesses and communities better prepared to weather the increasing number of natural disasters and we applaud Representatives Joe Morelle (D-NY-25), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Jared Golden (D-ME-02) and Pete Stauber (R-MN-08) for their leadership on this critical issue.”

“This bill has wide-reaching benefits to the marina and boatyard industry,” said Association of Marina Industries legislative outreach coordinator Eric Kretsch. “Small businesses constitute a large portion of our industry, and by nature, we’re located in vulnerable areas. This program will provide another mechanism to upgrade infrastructure and increase the resilience of our industry to natural disasters.”