Hoeven Provisions to Resolve Easements in Red River Valley & Prohibit Surplus Water Fees on Missouri River Signed Into Law

Senator Working to Secure Construction Funding for Fargo-Moorhead Flood Protection in Corps’ FY2019 Work Plan

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the president signed into law the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, also referred to as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The legislation includes a Hoeven-sponsored provision to resolve easements on land purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding in the Red River Valley and allow construction of comprehensive flood protection for the region. The senator’s provision grants the authority needed to implement Route B, the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton. 

In addition, the bill includes a two-year extension of a provision Hoeven secured in the 2014 WRDA bill prohibiting the Army Corps from charging storage fees for water drawn from the Missouri River. Hoeven initially introduced his legislation as a standalone bill, the States’ Water Rights Act, prior to its inclusion in WRDA. With this extension, Hoeven’s provision prevents the Corps from charging fees for using water from the Missouri River reservoirs through 2026

“These easements in the Red River Valley threatened to stall our flood protection efforts and impose unnecessary costs on the project’s construction,” Hoeven said. “We worked hard to include this fix in WRDA and pass it into law, allowing construction along the new route to move forward. With this priority complete, we will continue working with the Corps to secure funding in the next work plan and advance flexible financial tools, like WIFIA, to help reduce local costs.”

Earlier this month, Hoeven outlined his easement provision, as well as measures he secured in the recently-passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Energy and Water funding bill, for leaders from the Fargo-Moorhead region and MG Scott Spellmon, Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This comes as part of Hoeven’s efforts to secure funding for the construction of the region’s flood protection project in the Corps’ FY2019 work plan.

To this end, Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee to ensure the funding legislation: 

  • Increases the Corps’ construction account by $150 million to ensure priorities like flood protection in the Red River Valley continue to receive funding.
  • Implements the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program to provide states and local governments with low-cost, flexible funding sources when building water infrastructure.
    • The legislation directs the Corps to complete a detailed plan for implementing WIFIA and provides up to $6 million to support WIFIA program implementation. This aligns with Hoeven’s legislation to extend the WIFIA program.
  • Ensures fair treatment of public-private partnership (P3) projects and others that use alternative financing methods during the Corps’ cost-benefit analysis, including flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region.
    • The bill requires the Corps to develop a policy on how it will evaluate P3s and incorporate them into its budget.
    • Hoeven also helped advance a provision in the Senate-passed Financial Services and General Government funding bill ensuring the Corps can fund P3s.