Hoeven, F-M Leaders Meet with OMB Director, Army Corps to Continue Efforts to Secure Permanent Flood Protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven this week along with Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney and Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams met with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. Hoeven arranged the meeting with OMB and the Corps to continue efforts to secure comprehensive flood protection for the Red River Valley.

“We met with OMB Director Donovan and the Corps to ensure that funding is in place for the project while we continue to work with both the upstream group and the State of Minnesota. We need to build permanent, comprehensive flood protection for the people and property in the region,” said Hoeven.

Mayor Tim Mahoney remarked, “I was very pleased with our meetings in Washington. The Corps of Engineers has been an excellent partner in this process and their commitment is unwavering. The business leaders from our community expressed their strong support for the F-M Diversion Project, while also sharing the disruptive effects on their employees and overall operations inflicted by previous floods. We as leaders conveyed our citizens’ desires to finally achieve real protection. Additionally, the opportunity to meet directly with OMB Director Donovan, made possible by Senator Hoeven, allowed us an unparalleled ability to discuss the project and the need for on-going federal appropriations for the project. Director Donovan and his staff are keenly aware of the importance of the Diversion for our community and the entire region. I would especially like to express my appreciation to Mayor Williams for her leadership and friendship. Together, we will achieve permanent flood protection.”

Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams said, “I appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with federal officials in Washington. There was a strong interest in hearing the Minnesota perspective on this issue and I reiterated my commitment to achieving permanent flood protection. I look forward to hearing directly from our state leaders on their decision-making process regarding the permit for the Diversion Project. I respect Minnesota leaders and plan to engage in an honest conversation, while listening and providing factual information. In addition to all of the properties impacted in Fargo, hundreds of homes in Moorhead still remain at risk during major flood events. This places our citizens and our investments in jeopardy. Moreover, we truly are one community; Moorhead residents travel to Fargo every day for medical care, education, to their centers of employment and more. We’re all in this together.”

In August, Hoeven hosted Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the new chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, in Fargo to press for continued support for permanent flood protection. In July, Hoeven joined Fargo-area leaders and Army Corps officials for the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) for the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project, which defines the cost-sharing and construction responsibilities of the Army Corps and the non-federal project sponsors. The agreement followed language that Hoeven wrote and secured in the year-end funding bill authorizing and funding new construction activity that was needed to advance the project.

Prior to this, Hoeven secured support for the project in meetings with Darcy, Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick and Director Donovan. The project was subsequently selected for a construction start in the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2016 work plan, which Hoeven announced in February.

Hoeven is working through the Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to ensure the Corps has the funding it needs to sustain the construction of the project.