WASHINGTON -- Erosion will destroy 5,000 homes along California's coastline in the next 60 years and, unless new legislation is passed, few property owners will be able to collect federal insurance money to cover the damage, according to a government study released Tuesday.
The report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency predicts that losses to owners of oceanfront homes in California will reach $110 million a year by the middle of the century.
On the basis of the five-year, $4 million study -- which covers the entire U.S. coastline -- FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the agency will recommend that areas prone to erosion be mapped for the first time. Mapping, he said, is the first step to revamping federal flood insurance to take into account the risk of erosion in coastal zones.
The study found that erosion will damage 25 percent of all structures within 500 feet of the U.S. coastline or the shoreline of the Great Lakes by 2060.
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