Hoeven Brings Together Local, State, Federal Officials to Build Grafton Flood Protection Plan

GRAFTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today led a meeting in Grafton to help advance a flood protection plan for the city. In attendance were city leaders, including Mayor Chris West and city council members, North Dakota state officials from the State Water Commission and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, federal officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as representatives from Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson (KLJ), Moore Engineering and Barr Engineering.

“We’re meeting today to help provide peace of mind for the people of Grafton and reduce the costs and risks they currently face,” Hoeven said. “It was clear that after meeting with Mayor West and city officials that we needed to bring together all the stakeholders to build a plan and bring it into action. The residents of this city have worked hard to protect their community, and they deserve a long-term solution.”

Following roundtables with Grafton city officials over the past two months, Senator Hoeven arranged the meeting to focus on the city’s development of a long-term, cost-effective plan that will ensure that Grafton no longer faces a serious flood risk. The city of Grafton lies within the 100-year floodplain and residents and businesses are required to hold flood insurance, even though their homes or businesses have never flooded.

Last month, the Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, legislation co-sponsored by Hoeven that would delay these increases in flood insurance rates until FEMA completes an affordability study to ensure that premiums are affordable for American families and businesses. After the study, the bill requires FEMA to propose rules to address affordability and gives Congress adequate time to review the proposals.

The bill also includes a provision authored by Senator Hoeven and cosponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp to continue the basement exception, allowing communities to continue using floodproofed basement credits to reduce the cost of their policies. Hoeven and Heitkamp have been working directly with FEMA to ensure that the agency maintains the current Base Flood Elevation insurance rating method that determines insurance rates by evaluating the lowest proofed opening in a home rather than the lowest floor, or basement approach. Fourteen North Dakota communities are currently approved for the residential basement floodproofed rating credit, as well as 40 additional communities across the country.