Nichols flooding (copy) (copy)

Rain from Hurricane Matthew flooded the town of Nichols, South Carolina. Town of Nichols/Provided

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott on Tuesday filed a bill to require flood-prone communities to consider and invest in protections — voluntary homeowner buyouts, better drainage and other infrastructure — or face sanctions.

The investment is intended to keep the communities from turning to federal funding to recover. The bill is in response to unfunded debt being accrued by the National Flood Insurance Program as it responds to repeated flood disasters.

"I'll never forget going door-to-door in Sumter, Horry County and other areas of South Carolina after the 2015 floods and seeing first-hand the real-life devastation faced by so many of our families," Scott, R-S.C., said Tuesday in a news release. "As someone grew up on the coast, I know how critical NFIP is to families in South Carolina."

The bill "would help tackle the NFIP's debt problems while better preparing communities to weather disasters before they strike, cutting costs and freeing up resources to be used on needed relief efforts," he said.

Scott introduced the effort along with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. 

Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.