Hoeven: Energy and Water Bill Allows Construction of Corps' Projects

Projects to Be Selected on Competitive Basis

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, today worked to include language in the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that allows the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction on five new projects in Fiscal Year 2015. Those projects are to be selected on a competitive basis, but Hoeven included language requiring the Corps to give consideration for local effort, both in terms of the funding share and whether state and local funding is in place.

“It’s only reasonable that the Corps give due weight to projects that have state and local funding in place and also cases where the locals are doing more,” said Hoeven. “For example, in the case of the Fargo-Moorhead permanent flood protection project, the state and local share is 55 percent and the federal government pays for 45 percent. Contrast that with other projects where local funding is not in place and the federal government pays for 65 percent and the locals only pay for 35 percent.”

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which was signed into law earlier this month, includes authorization for permanent flood protections for Fargo-Moorhead. Authorization paves the way to begin the construction phase of the permanent flood protection. In recent years, Congress has restricted the number of new construction starts. The language secured by Hoeven ensures that newly authorized projects can compete for funding and instructs the Corps to choose projects with state and local funding that is lined up.

Hoeven has also been pressing the Army Corps of Engineers to take a comprehensive approach to flood protection in the Red River Valley by addressing concerns regarding the upstream staging area in a way that gets everyone onboard. A comprehensive approach to flood protection for the Red River Valley that includes: permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead; upstream flood protections; dikes, levees and other flood protection infrastructure in Fargo-Moorhead area; and affordable flood insurance premiums for homes and businesses.

The legislation must now be considered by the full committee and passed by the full Senate.