The new policy is contained in an executive order issued by President Obama in January that says federal actions (think projects funded directly or in part by the federal government = highways, airports, military bases) have to take future flood risks into account.
The Executive order from January 2015:
FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters
More than 50 percent of Americans live in coastal counties, where key infrastructure and evacuation routes are increasingly vulnerable to impacts like higher sea levels, storm surges, and flooding.
Under Obama’s executive order, buildings must now be elevated 2 or 3 feet above the 100-year flood level (the higher standard is for “critical” infrastructure, like hospitals), or at the 500-year flood level. A third option is for federal agencies to analyze future climate change scenarios and build according to those projections, such as for sea level rise or expected heavier rain events.
FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have produced fact sheets in response to several frequently asked questions regarding the intended scope of the President’s Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and the anticipated impacts to many of the programs of these agencies.