Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, along with other Members, announced yesterday that they have introduced legislation to prevent future incidents of severe downstream flooding along the Missouri River. The legislation, H.R. 2942, requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revise the Missouri River Master Manual to increase the total amount of storage space within the Missouri River Reservoir System that is allocated for flood control.
The legislation has strong, bipartisan support from Members of Congress representing Missouri River states. Original cosponsors of the bill include: Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA).
Statements from Congressman King and bill co-sponsors follow:
“The severity of this year’s flood shows that the Corps of Engineers’ existing flood control model needs to be changed,” said Congressman King. “My legislation requires the Corps to increase the amount of storage space in the reservoir system so that it will be better able to prevent serious downstream flooding from occurring in the future. The bill is a common sense solution to a serious problem, and I am grateful for the strong support it has received from my colleagues in Missouri River states.“
“The goal of the Missouri River Flood Working Group is to make flood control and prevention a number one priority so an event like this does not happen again. This legislation is a good first step to controlling the river by adding space to the flood control zone in our reservoir system” said Rep. Kristi Noem. “I firmly believe that we, along with the Army Corps, can find a solution to prevent another flood of this magnitude. This proposal has not only received bipartisan support, but support from the upper and lower Missouri River Basin.”
“This bill would take into account the new data points caused by this past year’s flood,” said Rep. Sam Graves. “This will ensure that we are prepared for a new worst-case scenario. As communities, roads and farmland all along the Missouri River begin to dry out, now is the time to start making common sense changes to the way the River is managed. This is a good first-step.”
“The communities, lives and livelihoods that are affected by the Missouri River must stand head-and-shoulders above all other priorities in the Corps of Engineers’ management of the river,” Congressman Latham said. “Disaster preparedness, mitigation and flood control policies that protect the people and communities along the river rightfully take center stage in this bill, which will allow the voices of Iowans to be heard by the federal government and agencies in this continued discussion.”
“Having seen the flooding first hand and having brought Chairman Mica to witness its damages, we must take action to prevent similar catastrophes in the Missouri River Valley,” said Rep. Terry. “Flood control must become a significant priority.”
“This summer, tens of thousands of people from Montana to Missouri were affected by record-breaking floods,” said Congressman Cleaver. “This bipartisan bill, which I am proud to cosponsor, would help change the way we prepare for floods, bringing us out of the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first. While we cannot anticipate each and every natural disaster, we must enhance and update the preventative measures and management plans we have in place today.“
“I’m pleased the Iowa Delegation has again come together to work on flood recovery in a bipartisan fashion like we have done since the Floods of 2008 hit much of Eastern Iowa. I applaud Congressman King for introducing this legislation, which will improve the management of flood control infrastructure on the Missouri River,” said Congressman Loebsack. “Iowa is now recovering from a number of severe flood incidents over the past few years, which is why I continue to push for hearings in Congress on flooding and the Corps of Engineers management of flood control structures. In addition, we also need to pass legislation to create a National Flood Center that comprehensively addresses flood prediction, prevention, response and recovery.”
“I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the river, to prevent future flooding on the Missouri River,” said Rep. Braley. “It’s time for the Army Corps of Engineers to update its flood prevention systems, and this bill can make that happen. Congress should provide the resources to clean-up, repair and rebuild after these devastating floods, and that’s what I’m fighting for.”
“I am pleased that my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both ends of the basin are willing to work together to address this critical issue,” Rep. Luetkemeyer said. “This is a step forward for Missouri and the entire Missouri River basin. I will continue to work on behalf of our river communities to ensure they are protected against the kind of flooding experienced this year.”
“The floods that have hit Iowa over the last few years have had devastating impacts on our state, from the crops in the field to infrastructure,” Congressman Boswell said. “Politics aside, when it comes to helping affected communities and flood victims in Iowa, our delegation comes together to do what is necessary and what is needed. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Corps of Engineers, I will do whatever I can to help move this bill forward. The flooding that we have witnessed is proof that the current flood control storage is inadequate, and we must work together to ensure that we reduce the damage caused when the Missouri River floods.”
Source: Office of Representative Kristi Noem