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FEMA’s redrawn flood maps brings protests from homeowners in Essex County

The shaded area reflects new flood zones along the Saugus River.
The shaded area reflects new flood zones along the Saugus River.Federal Emergency Management Agency

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Thousands of property owners in Essex County and across the Bay State could be affected by FEMA’s nationwide redrawing of flood maps, many of which haven’t been updated since the 1970s.

The move is aimed at shoring up the troubled federal flood insurance program, which is nearly $24 billion in debt.

Under the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, passed by Congress last summer, FEMA is required to redraw the boundaries and phase out decades-old insurance subsidies for owners of homes that were built in high-risk flood zones before the original federal flood zone maps were created, among a litany of other changes.

But many homeowners now find themselves in flood zones for the first time, facing the likelihood of having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in premiums for flood insurance or see rates increase by more than 25 percent.

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