Hoeven Holds Informational Meeting of Corps, FEMA in Bismarck

BISMARCK, ND -- Sen. Hoeven today held an informational meeting of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Army Corps of Engineers officials to update city and county leaders on federal mitigation and prevention efforts. He also updated officials on his efforts in Washington to ensure that federal agencies have the necessary resources to help residents recover from this season’s flooding and prevent flooding next year.


Gen. John McMahon, Northwest Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Col. Robert Ruch, Commander and District Engineer of the Omaha District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, presented the agencies’ 2011-12 plans for Missouri River management. Ruch outlined efforts to reduce water levels, inspect dikes and levees and implement other mitigation measures.


FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Bobbi Sanborn and Tim Geltson, Long Term Recovery/Mitigation Coordinator for the agency, gave an update on FEMA’s recovery activities to date. Jeffrey Savadel and Allen Schlag with the Bismarck National Weather Service office provided an update on the long-term forecast.


“We have two critical objectives here,” Hoeven said. “First, we need to make sure the Corps and other agencies have a good plan for recovery this year, and second that they have the necessary federal resources to prepare for and prevent future potential flooding. We will continue to do everything possible to help North Dakotans in the flood recovery effort.”


Attending the meeting were Congressman Rick Berg, Adjutant General David Sprynczynatyk, Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling, Mandan City Administrator Jim Neubauer, Bismarck City Administrator Bill Wocken, Morton County Commissioner Bruce Strinden, Burleigh County Commissioner Brian Bitner, local legislators, state officials and the general public.


Senator Hoeven reviewed the federal funding that is currently being directed to North Dakota through FEMA and the Corps, and detailed his efforts in Washington to secure additional disaster relief for North Dakota and other states working to recover from natural disasters.


Based on state damage estimates to date, Hoeven said the federal government will provide more than $927 million in assistance, including the following:


Statewide Grants, Direct Assistance and Loans (based on claims to date)


  • Road damage statewide, est’d fed share (ER Funds)                 $304 million
  • Public infrastructure damage statewide, est’d fed share (PA 90%)     $270 million
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, statewide flood fight                $37.4 million
  • FEMA Individual Assistance, statewide funding to date (IA)               $92.5 million
  • SBA disaster loans                                                                 $222.8 million


Statewide Federal Share to Date:                                                    $927 million


At the same time, Hoeven said he’s working for additional relief in the U.S. Senate and as a member of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.


Earlier this week, the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2012 to ensure the continued operations of the federal government through Nov. 18, when a permanent appropriation measure for the year needs to be put in place. The measure included $2.65 billion in FEMA disaster relief funds to help communities recover from flooding, wildfires and recent storms and hurricanes across the country.


The Appropriations Committee has also approved the following funding for Fiscal Year 2012:


  • FEMA Disaster Relief Funding                                                    $6 billion
  • Emergency Road Repair Funding                                                 $2 billion
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Disaster Recovery Activities      $1.04 billion
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)                   $400 million

The Senator said he will continue working to secure additional disaster assistance before November. In light of the nation’s severe deficit and debt, he said he believes Congress must prioritize needs and work to find savings to help offset the cost of disaster relief. The full Senate will take up the recommendations of the Appropriations Committee later this fall as it completes work on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.


Hoeven is organizing a similar meeting Friday in Minot with St. Paul District Corps officials to begin discussions about preparation for the next flood season.