Hoeven, Blunt Push Amendments to Strengthen Flood Protection
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) late Wednesday spoke on the Senate floor to press for two amendments they’re cosponsoring to strengthen flood protections. The first would redirect funding the Army Corps of Engineers uses for such purposes as building sandbars on the Missouri River to flood protection efforts instead this year. A second amendment would streamline the federal approval process involved in repairing and reconstructing levees and taking other flood protection measures.
“The flooding has been devastating and extensive along the Missouri River in my home state, and it’s not just the Missouri River, but also the Souris River, as well as Devils Lake, the Red River, the Sheyenne River and the James River. We’ve just had a terrible time with flooding. We need to take the kind of steps that will help our people recover, but will also help us prepare for the future so that we don’t face those types of floods next year, or any other year in the future. I encourage support for these important amendments.”
The first amendment would change the Corps’ budget to make an additional $50 million available for next year’s flood preparations. Hoeven and Blunt said the measure is not only a practical and effective way of ensuring that flood control remains the Corps of Engineers top priority during a the current wet cycle, but also ensures that the agency has adequate resources to mount an aggressive flood prevention effort.
The second amendment they introduced would cut the red tape out of the process of repairing and reconstructing levees damaged in this year’s floods. It identifies at least eight federal statutes and regulations that might interrupt levee reconstruction and delay the process of building up flood protection in time for the 2012 flood season.
Time is of the essence, Hoeven said, to make adequate preparations in time to manage the spring flood season next year. The Hoeven-Blunt amendment shortens the timeline for levee reconstruction and repair by waiving the need to obtain new permits, licenses and approvals to reconstruct levees in the same place and according to the same specifications that they were built prior to the 2011 flood.Flood control needs to be the Corps’ top priority going into next season, and these measures will help give them the resources and the authority they need to make sure it is, Hoeven said.
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