JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WGNO) — Flood insurance rates are steadily rising across Louisiana, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise says FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 is to blame.

“They didn’t set up a program that was going to be affordable, and in fact we’ve seen thousands of people drop their flood insurance policies just in the last year here in South Louisiana,” said Rep. Scalise.

FEMA says the flood insurance program focuses on equity, evaluating property owners’ flood risks on an individual basis, but local parish presidents agree with Scalise that the program is financially crippling citizens.

“We see our residents facing what used to be $500 and $600 a year flood insurance policies that are now $5,000 and $6,000 a year flood insurance policies. It’s very frustrating for us,” said Lafourche Parish President, Archie Chaisson.

“Home ownership is still considered an American dream and this threatens that. You know, I just learned in this meeting that I think Jefferson Parish holds 20% of Louisiana’s flood insurance policies. We already lost 3,000 people in the first year,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng.

Leaders went onto to blast what they say is FEMA’s lack of transparency, saying the agency has yet to thoroughly explain the algorithm it uses to determine rates.

“I think it’s embarrassing that FEMA refuses to even meet today with people who build levees, parish leaders who invest millions and billions of dollars into better flood protection. After they do that, FEMA still gives higher premium increases and won’t explain how they came to those rate hikes,” said Rep. Scalise.