Hoeven: Army Corps Completes Section 408 Review & EIS for Minot, Advances Construction of Flood Protection in the Region

Senator Worked to Expedite 408 Reviews, Ensure Phases Can Proceed without Further Delay

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the Section 408 review for the Minot region’s flood protection project. The delay in the review, which is required to make changes to existing Corps projects, had prevented the Souris River Joint Board from awarding contracts for constructing flood control infrastructure under the first three phases the project. As a result, the board’s bids for these phases were at risk of expiring. Today’s approval allowed the Corps to issue its Record of Decision in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, ensuring the contracts can be awarded prior to the January 15 deadline and streamlining the approval of the project’s future phases.

Hoeven has been in regular contact with the Army Corps to resolve the delay since July. This includes calls with Army Corps officials, a meeting he held with R.D. James, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army – Civil Works, and a letter he sent to the Corps’ Acting Assistant Secretary Doug Lamont. Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, also secured language in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations bill directing the Corps to expedite processing of Section 408 packages.

“The delay in Section 408 reviews represented a real challenge to moving forward on flood protection for the Minot region,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate the Corps heeding our call to complete the permit, bringing us closer to constructing this vital infrastructure. This is part of our ongoing work to deliver comprehensive flood protection for the entire region.”  

Hoeven is working to support regional flood protection efforts in North Dakota. In addition to the Section 408 provision, the senator helped include the following priorities in the Senate’s FY2018 funding measure and is continuing his efforts to include them in a future appropriations package:

  • Army Corps Construction – Provides $125 million in funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control projects above the administration’s budget request. This additional funding will help ensure that efforts like comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley are funded in the Corps’ FY2018 work plan. 
  • Minot Area Flood Study – Provides $400,000 for the Corps’ feasibility study in the Souris River Basin. The study is a vital step in advancing the first four phases of the Minot area’s flood protection project.
  • Fair Treatment of Public-Private Partnerships – Includes a provision to ensure fair treatment of public-private partnerships, such as flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead region, during the Corps’s analysis of a project’s benefits and costs. Hoeven has secured commitments from administration officials to address inconsistencies in this policy, including Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite and Neomi Rao, the head of the administration’s central regulatory authority.

In addition, Hoeven continues working with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long, who Hoeven hosted in Minot earlier this year, to ensure the agency’s preliminary flood maps and the resulting flood insurance rates are accurate in the Souris River Basin. This includes making sure FEMA reevaluates discrepancies in its preliminary flood maps, provides an extended timetable for public comment on the maps and updates the maps as permanent flood protection is built.

Hoeven is also working with FEMA to identify additional funding to construct flood protection for the remainder of the Souris River Basin. The Army Corps of Engineers current project entails four phases, and federal support is needed to develop subsequent phases and ensure protection for the whole region.