Hoeven Briefs State, Local Officials on Meeting with Top Corps General

Senator Calls for Thorough After-Action Review of Corps Management of Missouri River

BISMARCK, N.D.- Senator John Hoeven today told local and state officials at a flood meeting in Bismarck that he is working to make sure flooded communities are getting all the federal assistance they need in the ongoing flood fight in western North Dakota.  

The Senator briefed them on his meeting this week with Maj. Gen. Merdith W.B. Temple, acting commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hoeven said he and other Missouri River senators met with Temple for two reasons: to make sure state and local officials are getting all the resources they need to mount a successful flood fight, and to ensure that the Corps undertakes a thorough review of the factors that led to higher releases from the main stem dams on the Missouri and resulting flooding.

The Senator said Corps assistance is an ongoing process. “The Corps has to be responsive and has to continue to provide help because this is not a one week event,” Hoeven said. “They have to be here and they have to continue to respond to state and local requests.”

The Corps also needs to undertake a thorough after-action review of the factors that led to the decision to release dramatically higher volumes of water on short notice.

“First and foremost this is about the flood fight, but the Corps has to analyze what happened here, understand what happened, and then develop whatever processes are necessary so that in the future we can prevent this type of event,” Hoeven said. “I know with Mother Nature you can’t fully prevent anything, but we have got to understand exactly what happened and learn from it.”

The Senator also said the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is an ongoing dynamic, and encouraged residents to work with FEMA crews on the ground to determine the kind of help available to them.

FEMA will assume 75 percent of the cost of damages to public infrastructure for damages under $100 million. Of the remaining 25 percent, the state typically covers 10 percent and local communities 15 percent. In this case, however, Hoeven said the state Legislature has agreed to assume half of the local cost share. Senator Hoeven thanked state lawmakers in the audience for their support of that legislation.

Senator Hoeven headed to Minot after the Bismarck meeting to meet with officials there, and to participate in an aerial tour. They will also do a ground tour to examine the levees and flood defenses.