Hoeven Holds Informational Meeting of Corps, FEMA in Minot

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


“We organized this meeting to ensure that the Corps and other agencies have a good plan and the necessary resources they need to assist in the ongoing recovery phase, and also that they have the resources necessary to work to prevent flooding next season.”


At the Senator’s request, Col. Michael Price, St. Paul District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, presented the agencies’ plans for 2011-12 Mouse-Souris River management as winter and spring approach. FEMA representative Dolph Diemont provided an update on housing and FEMA’s ongoing recovery activities.


The Colonel said the agency is managing funds for several disasters across the country, but he expects additional money already in the agency budget to shore up Minot’s emergency levees. Senator Hoeven is working with Corps officials to allocate those funds for Minot.


Hoeven has also inserted language into the State Department’s 2012 budget calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to initiate a U.S.-Canadian bilateral review of Souris-Mouse River management. The Senate Appropriations Committee, of which Hoeven is a member, approved the language. The provision will complement a post-flood report that Col. Price is preparing for review by the International Joint Commission’s Souris River Board at the end of this year. Col. Price expects a February meeting of the board will update Mouse River operations plans for next year.


Attending the meeting were Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman, Minot City Manager David Waind, Velva Mayor Ken Fox, Burlington Mayor and Ward County Commission Chairman Jerome Gruenberg, Sawyer City Council Member Cody Roteliuk, McHenry County Commissioner Vern Kongslie, Minot Superintendent of Schools Mark Vollmer, Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Frank Durbian, Adjutant Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, and Tim Fay of the State Water Commission. Representatives from Sen. Kent Conrad’s and Cong. Rick Berg’s offices, county commission members, local legislators, and the general public were also in attendance.


Also at today’s meeting, Hoeven reviewed the federal funding that is currently being directed to North Dakota and Minot through FEMA and the Corps, as well as his efforts in Washington to secure additional disaster relief for communities, like Minot, 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 to North Dakota, 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


The Senator said there is considerable Minot-specific funding included in the statewide figure:


Grants and Direct Assistance to Minot/Ward County


  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mouse River flood fight       $24.8 million
  • Public infrastructure dollars granted to Ward County to date   $1 million
  • FEMA Individual Assistance, funds for Ward County to date:$88.2 million
  • SBA disaster loans, Ward County to date:                       $209.7 million


Ward County Grants, loans and direct assistance to date:             $323.7 million


Hoeven said additional federal hazard mitigation grants will be allocated this fall based on 15 percent of the total public infrastructure and individual assistance provided statewide.


At the same time, the Senator is working for additional relief in the U.S. Senate. 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 must be put in place. The measure included $2.65 billion in FEMA disaster relief funds to help communities across the country recover from flooding, wildfires and recent storms and hurricanes. 


Hoeven is a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and is working through the committee to secure additional assistance. The committee has 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 the effort to secure additional disaster assistance, between now and November. The full Senate will take up the recommendations of the Appropriations Committee later this fall as it completes work on the Fiscal Year 2012 funding bills.


To help enhance protection for flood-prone communities, Hoeven has also introduced legislation called the FEMA Common Sense and Cost Effectiveness Act that would allow FEMA and the Corps to leave temporary dikes in place after a flood event. Current law requires the Corps to remove temporary dikes constructed on properties in flood-prone areas bought-out with FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program funds, resulting in less protection for homeowners and greater expense to taxpayers. The Senator’s new law would result in more security for residents at reduced cost.


Hoeven organized a similar meeting Thursday in Bismarck with General John McMahon, Northwest Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Colonel Robert Ruch, Commander and District Engineer of the Omaha District.