Delegation Calls on FEMA To Quickly Approve State's Request For Expanded Disaster Declaration
WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad, and Congressman Rick Berg today called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve quickly an expanded federal emergency declaration to support ongoing state and local flood efforts in the Missouri River Basin.
On May 26, Governor Jack Dalrymple requested that the April 7 Presidential Emergency Declaration be expanded to include emergency assistance for counties in the Missouri River Basin, including Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Oliver, Sioux, and Williams. Additionally, the state also requested that the emergency declaration be expanded to include the Indian reservations of Standing Rock and Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold.
An above-normal snowpack and extraordinarily high rainfall over the past several weeks have filled the available flood control storage behind the Garrison Dam and, as a result, the water level of the reservoir is nearing the top of the spillway. If the reservoir reached the top of the spillway, water would flow out uncontrolled into the Missouri River, causing severe flooding to downstream communities and adverse impacts to agricultural and industrial properties.
To prevent this, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasing releases from the Missouri River dams, including Garrison to historic levels in order to make room for additional runoff expected from the mountain snowpack. Unfortunately, these significant releases will result in flooding conditions downstream that will persist for weeks.
“Downstream communities are racing to erect measures to protect against the rising water, but direct federal assistance is necessary to supplement state and local response efforts,” the delegation wrote. “We strongly support the state’s request and ask that it be approved expeditiously.”
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