Congressional Delegation Calls on President to Support Disaster Declaration Request

WASHINGTON — Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg today wrote to President Barack Obama calling on him to expeditiously approve a request from Governor Jack Dalrymple for a federaldeclaration for the state of North Dakota under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance (Stafford) Act.

The request comes as a consequence of weather conditions and forecasts indicating a strong potential for severe spring flooding, especially in the Devils Lake, James River, Missouri River, Red River of the North and Souris River basins. A range of conditions are contributing to the threat of flooding, including multiple years of excessive rain and snow; saturated soil conditions; heavy snowpack; and a lack of available surface storage. The prospect of additional moisture during the remainder of this winter and spring compounds the threat of severe flooding.

“Conditions warrant an early and comprehensive declaration in light of the conditions that are emerging this winter and spring,” Hoeven said. “Prompt support by the Administration is crucial to an effective and efficient flood fight in the affected communities.”

“This spring's flood fight is shaping up to be quite a challenge," Conrad said. "Preparation is key, and we need the Administration to quickly approve the request for an emergency declaration. Granting the request would give the State and local governments access to federal resources to protect lives and property."

“Support from the President is critical as our state coordinates its flood preparation efforts,” stated Congressman Berg. “Recent assessments of the potential for severe flooding across our state demonstrate that an early declaration is necessary to ensure that these communities have the resources they need to prepare for this spring.”

The Delegation has been working to coordinate federal resources with state and local efforts to mount an effective flood response this spring. They are working closely with Governor Dalrymple, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate flood preparation efforts in communities across our state.

Hoeven, Berg and Brigadier General Michael Walsh, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, met yesterday in Fargo with local leaders and engineers to coordinate local, state and federal flood preparation efforts, and to review progress on the community’s flood protection measures. Hoeven and Walsh were in Devils Lake on Wednesday on a similar mission.

Conrad, Hoeven, and Colonel Michael Price, Commander of the St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers briefed officials last week from nearly 20 communities on flood preparation efforts and emergency response capabilities.

In support of local and tribal jurisdictions, the state is specifically requesting direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures for 16 counties and two reservations. They include the Spirit Lake Nation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservations and the counties of Benson, Bottineau, Burleigh, Cass, Cavalier, Dickey, Grant, Mercer, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Stark, Towner, Traill, Ward and Williams. The Governor indicated that as impacts emerge, additional counties may be added.