Hoeven Pushes Authorization for Flood Protection Project on Senate Floor

Also Enlists Support of Corps Chief in Appropriations Hearing

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven Wednesday spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to push support for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes congressional authorization of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project.

The senator made a strong case that the cost of building permanent flood protection for the Red River Valley is far more cost-effective than mounting an annual flood fight, and especially, losing a flood fight. He noted that the 2009 flood fight in Fargo – a successful flood fight – still cost about $50 million. “This project will actually save the government money,” he said.

For example, Minot, a smaller community that lost its flood fight in 2011, had more than 4,000 homes destroyed or damaged and thousands of residents displaced. The federal government has put more than $632 million into the city’s recovery to date, and we are still not done, he said.

“A similar flood in Fargo-Moorhead would be even worse. The Army Corps of Engineers predicts that a 500-year-flood in the Red River Valley could cause more than $10 billion in damage,” he said.

While the federal government typically pays 75 to 90 percent of the cost to protect and help to recover a community following a severe flood, the federal government’s share of the flood protection project would be 45 percent. The balance would be paid by the state of North Dakota, local governments and the state of Minnesota.

“With permanent flood protection, which is authorized through WRDA, we can break the cycle. With one-time spending, we can protect people on a permanent basis and do so in a much more cost-effective way, because once you build it, you’re done with the endless and traumatic sequence of fighting floods and cleaning up after them.

“In the end, you can’t really put a price on the kind of hardship and despair that losing a home or a business and being displaced means after the fact – but you can help to spare people the hardship in the first place.

“That is what permanent flood protection is all about, and why it is so important to North Dakota, Minnesota and the Red River Valley region,” the senator said.

Senator Enlists Top Corps Official’s Support in Appropriations Hearing

Earlier Wednesday, in an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to review the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget, Hoeven had an opportunity to make the same case with Commanding General and Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Thomas P. Bostick.

The senator thanked Bostick and the Corps for their work in providing a Chief’s Report in support of the project, but made clear that that the Corps needs to continue to assist by helping to secure funding for construction. He invited Bostick to Fargo-Moorhead to review the situation firsthand.

Bostick acknowledged that permanent flood control is a key project for the region and agreed to work with the Senator to advance it.