Hoeven Holds Roundtables in Bowman and Amidon
BOWMAN AND AMIDON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today held roundtables in Bowman and Amidon where he discussed his current priorities in the Senate and addressed issues important to each community, including Bowman’s new airport, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), a new hospital and clinic in Bowman, grazing issues on the National Grasslands and the Air Force’s Powder River Training Complex.
“Agriculture is a staple of these southwestern North Dakota communities where farming and ranching have been a way of life for generations, and we’re working to ensure that they can continue to raise crops and livestock for years to come,” Hoeven said. “We also need to help meet the needs of our rural communities by ensuring that they have the infrastructure in place to support economic development and the high quality of life rural North Dakota offers. That’s why the new regional airport and hospital are real milestones for the community.”
Some of the issues covered include:
- Bowman Airport – Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke with Bowman community residents and officials about his work to help fund the new Bowman airport, which was completed last May. The senator worked on the Appropriations Committee to fund the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which helps finance projects like the new airport. AIP grants provided $12 million of the $16 million project.
- Waters of the U.S. Rule – Hoeven included a provision in the Senate Interior-EPA Appropriations bill for FY 2016 to prevent funding for implementation of EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule. Hoeven continues to fight to stop the WOTUS regulation from being implemented through the appropriations process. Hoeven is also a cosponsor of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, separatelegislation that would rescind the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and require the EPA to start the process over with more input from stakeholders. In November, Hoeven cosponsored and the Senate passed a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule. The resolution was vetoed by the president, but the rule has not gone into effect because the 6th U.S. Circuit Court ruled that the WOTUS rule not be implemented nationwide until the courts determine its legality.
- Highway Bill – The senator worked to pass a five-year highway bill in December which provides North Dakota with more than $1.3 billion and will enable more than 100 North Dakota transportation projects to advance. The bill’s formula increased spending levels in the state to $263 million, an increase of about $23 million per year. The legislation is fully paid for and offset. The measure also included Hoeven’s Driver Privacy Act which establishes that the owner of a vehicle also owns any information on its Event Data Recorder. In addition, Hoeven worked to ensure that the bill restored $3 billion in crop insurance cuts.
- Southwest Healthcare Hospital – Southwest Healthcare Services is in the midst of a $27 million project to build a new 60,000 square foot hospital and clinic in Bowman, which will be connected to the current nursing home. The project, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year, received a $15 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
- Grazing Issues – Hoeven discussed grazing issues in southwest North Dakota, including the Forest Service’s grasslands management plan. Last March, Hoeven was joined by USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell at a roundtable to discuss updates to the grasslands management plan and to get input from local farmers and ranchers. Hoeven included bill language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Interior Appropriations bill that would require the U.S. Forest Service to allow grazing associations to carry over grazing fee credits for one or more years for use on approved conservation practice projects.
- Powder River Training Complex – Local residents and pilots living and working in the Powder River military training area are concerned that they aren’t able to find out when low-altitude military training exercises are underway in their areas. Hoeven has been working with the community of Bowman, the Air Force and the FAA to resolve local concerns. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, the senator worked to include $2 million in the year-end funding bill Congress passed in December to finance communications equipment that will enable civilian pilots to communicate with the air traffic control tower managing military flights in their airspace. Additionally, the Air Force has agreed to hold off on low-altitude flights in southwestern North Dakota until the community is furnished with equipment that will allow them to obtain information about Air Force activity in the region.
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