Hoeven: Senate Expected to Take Up WRRDA Bill on Thursday

Legislation Includes Hoeven Provision Barring Corps from Charging Missouri River Water Fees, Authorization for Fargo-Moorhead Flood Protection

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA), which includes two top priorities for North Dakota: authorization for permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead and legislation Hoeven authored barring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from charging residents, tribes, farmers and businesses for Missouri River reservoir water. Hoeven said the Senate is now expected to take up the WRRDA bill on Thursday.

“We appreciate the hard work of Congressman Kevin Cramer and the House of Representatives in passing the WRRDA legislation today. This is another important step in approving this vital infrastructure legislation and we expect the Senate to take up the bill on Thursday,” said Hoeven. “We worked very hard to include provisions important for our state in this bill, including authorization for permanent flood control for Fargo-Moorhead and our States’ Water Rights Act that blocks an unfair proposal by the Corps to charge a fee for access to water from Missouri River reservoirs.”

Protecting Access to the Missouri River Reservoirs

The compromise WRRDA bill also includes an amendment authored by Senator Hoeven that bars the Army Corps of Engineers from charging an unprecedented fee for using water from the Missouri River reservoirs. The States’ Water Rights Act fixes in law that charging fees for “surplus water” would violate a state’s right to the waters that naturally flow through its boundaries as recognized by the federal government.

Permanent Flood Protection for Fargo-Moorhead

The compromise WRRDA bill includes authorization for the construction of the Fargo-Moorhead flood protection project, which authorizes funding for it, Hoeven said. Because of the scale and expense of the plan, federal funding will need to be appropriated each year on an ongoing basis to cover the cost, which will be shared by the local, state and federal government.

The total cost of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project is roughly $1.8 billion, with 45 percent, or $800 million, assumed by the federal government. The nonfederal share will be split three ways: Minnesota will assume $100 million, and the state of North Dakota and local government will assume the balance, $450 million each.