Hoeven: Energy & Water Funding Bill Supports Comprehensive Flood Protection in North Dakota

Senator Worked to Secure Funding for Army Corps Construction & Minot Study, Provisions to Prevent Section 408 Delays & Support Public-Private Partnerships

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water, today announced that the committee has approved Fiscal Year 2018 funding legislation supporting comprehensive flood protection for communities in North Dakota.

“We worked hard to ensure the Corps has the funding it needs to work on flood protection across our state,” said Hoeven. “Further, we have secured provisions that will help prevent bureaucratic delays in modifying projects and ensure public-private partnerships receive due credit for the private investment. This is important for a wide range of projects in our state, including bridges, water treatment and sewer systems, and will help the Corps work through its backlog.” 

Hoeven worked to secure the following provisions in support of the state’s priorities:

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 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 Minot’s flood protection project.

Section 408 Delays – Includes a provision at Hoeven’s request directing the Corps to expedite processing of Section 408 packages, which are used to make changes to existing Corps projects, and find alternative ways to approve project modifications. The delays are affecting several North Dakota projects, including those in Minot and Cass County. Alternatives include delegating the decisions to regional divisions rather than headquarters and using private certifications from local engineers, the same process used by the Federal Highway Administration.

Fair Treatment of Public-Private Partnerships – Includes a provision directing the Corps to evaluate the total return on federal investment when a project secures private sector funds. This helps 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 several 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.

Water Development Infrastructure – Provides $60 million in funding for small water infrastructure improvements. This program has supported sewer upgrades for cities like LaMoure and Petersburg.