Plan would make coastal mansions eligible for disaster aid

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OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (AP) - A proposed sweeping overhaul of federal protection zones along the East Coast would make hundreds of waterfront homes including multimillion-dollar estates newly eligible for taxpayer-funded disaster aid.

The plan by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also would shut off the federal disaster aid spigot to many public parks and beaches that rely on such funding to repair storm damage.

The agency says the changes will fix mistakes on the maps of the Coastal Barrier Resources System. The system was created to discourage development on coastal lands. Properties in the system cannot receive federal aid.

The remapping would make more than 900 properties eligible for aid.

Government spending watchdog groups say the proposal would stress already-strained disaster aid programs.

But some environmental groups applaud the proposal since it also puts lots of land into the protection system.