HAHNVILLE, La. (WGNO) — Leaders in St. Charles Parish have announced a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the parish was reportedly denied a public records request.

In a statement released Tuesday, President Matthew Jewell says FEMA denied information surrounding Risk Rating 2.0, a pricing method implemented in 2021 that helps determine insurance rates based on a property’s risk of flooding.

In November 2022, Jewell claims the parish filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about the model used to determine the insurance rates. He added that the parish planned to use the information to assess the parish’s risk of flooding and make necessary changes to ensure the lowest possible insurance pricing.

Earlier this year, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy said homeowners in the Bayou State could expect to see as much as a 122% increase in flood insurance rates. However, Jewell says the increase could be as much as 239% in St. Charles Parish, including some areas at risk for a 752% increase.

“The residents of St. Charles Parish are seeing huge spikes in flood insurance rates, and we deserve to know why. We deserve transparency on the data being used to determine these astronomical rate increases,” said President Matthew Jewell.

We’re told the parish has yet to hear back from FEMA regarding the data.

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