Hoeven Legislation in New WRDA Bill Enables Lake Tschida Homes to Remain on Their Lots, Limits Fees for Reservoirs Permits

Also Includes Hoeven Initiative for States First Coal Ash Management and Ice Jam Prevention, Mitigation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate and House have reconciled their versions of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and it has now passed both chambers. The House passed the measure with provisions introduced by Hoeven on Thursday, and it now goes to the president’s desk for signature.

The Hoeven legislation:

• Enables Lake Tschida homeowners to remain on their lots.
• Limits Fee Increases for permittees on Lake Tschida, Patterson Lake and the Jamestown Reservoir
• Authorizes a states-first approach to coal-ash management and recycling
• Authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out pilot projects to help prevent and mitigate ice jams, with a priority for the Upper Missouri River Basin

Hoeven Amendment Enables Lake Home Owners to Remain on Lake Tschida

The Hoeven amendment enables owners with homes around Lake Tschida to stay on their lots. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has issued permits for homes to be located around the lake for decades, but the agency has notified owners that they will have to remove their homes after 2021. The Hoeven legislation allows the homes to remain on the land as long as they are sufficiently anchored to the ground for safety.

The dam and reservoir are managed by the BOR and the recreation areas around the lake, which offer fishing, boating, camping, and swimming, are managed by the local Tri-Cities Joint Job Development Authority.

“Over the decades, many residents around the lake have invested thousands of dollars in their homes and improvements on the lots they pay fees to occupy,” Hoeven said. “We worked very hard to ensure that they can continue to use their homes and enjoy the lake as they have for years.”

Hoeven Amendment Limits Fee Increases for permit holders on Lake Tschida, Patterson Lake and the Jamestown Reservoir

The BOR had proposed increasing fees to twice the cost of current fees for permits on the three reservoirs; the Hoeven legislation prevents that increase and limits the total fee increase to no more than 33 percent over 5 years.

“North Dakotans have enjoyed swimming, boating and fishing on the reservoirs for generations, and many have been year-round residents for decades” Hoeven said. “They can now continue to enjoy their homes because they will remain affordable and accessible for decades to come.”

Hoeven Coal Ash Recycling Legislation Also Included in the House Bill 

WRDA includes legislation based on Hoeven’s Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2016 that he introduced with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). After a March hearing on the Hoeven-Manchin bill before the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the senator worked with EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to add a bipartisan amendment to the WRDA legislation. This coal ash measure prevents costly litigation and, for the first time, creates an enforceable state permit program for the disposal of coal ash.

“This is a double win in terms of reduced energy costs for consumers and improved environmental stewardship,” Hoeven said. “Coal ash has a wide range of safe and cost-effective applications, including in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Our bill is a bipartisan compromise that enforces standards through state-led permit programs, rather than through costly lawsuits. Both the North Dakota Heritage Center on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck and the Bismarck State College Energy Center of Excellence are constructed of recycled coal ash.”

Other Important Provisions in WRDA That Benefit North Dakota include measures that help with flood control and expedite requests for surplus Missouri River water:

• In 2009, the Missouri River was jammed with ice floes, which caused damaging floods in south Bismarck. Then Governor Hoeven contracted with a demolition company to dislodge the ice jams using explosives. WRDA authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out pilot projects to address ice jam prevention and mitigation, with a priority for the Upper Missouri River Basin.