Congress considers new crumbling foundations legislation

News 8 Investigators

Congress is considering legislation to deal with the iron sulfide mineral pyrrhotite, blamed for causing the Connecticut’s crumbling foundation crisis.

Connecticut’s congressional delegation submitted three amendments to Housing and Urban Development budget bill that would appropriate funds for remedies related to the mineral’s impact on construction. 

Related: Crumbling Foundations Superintendent hopes to be up and running by later this year

One amendment would provide $100 million over the next five years to states, like Connecticut, that have created programs to deal with pyrrhotite-related foundation failures. It would match the money set aside by the state government in last fall’s biennial budget agreement.

The second amendment would direct the US Geological Survey to create a nationwide map showing where the mineral can be found.

A third directs the US Treasury to assess the financial impact of crumbling foundations and create regulations and legislation to deal with the problem.

“We are committed in our congressional delegation to make funds available for these families that have suffered such hardship,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “Having spoken to families, we’re determined that both FEMA and HUD, the two federal agencies with authority and resources, should make it available.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visited an affected home in the region earlier this summer. He said he is interested in partnering with the state in finding a solution.

On Wednesday, News 8 spoke with Michael Maglaras. He is the man chosen to run the program that will disperse the funding to affected homeowners.

He spoke on the same day the state bond commission approved the first 20 million dollars to seed the captive insurance company created by the state legislation.

Maglaras says more money is needed and he is ready to do whatever it takes to get federal help with the issue.

“I’m going to take a sleeping bag, a canteen and some granola bars and I’m going to park myself in front of Secretary Carson’s office,” Maglaras told News 8’s George Colli.  “What has to happen here is a grass roots effort to re-approach, re-engage FEMA and engage HUD and make sure we have access to every piece of capital and that includes the insurance industry.”

Earlier this month, under the direction of Congressmen Joe Courtney and John Larson, the US House approved the measures directing the US Geological survey and US Treasury impact study in legislation to fund the Department of the Interior.

Maglaras says he hopes affected homeowners will be able to start applying for aid by the end of October or early November.

WEB EXTRA: Interview with Crumbling Foundations Superintendent Michael Maglaras

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