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Forum staff reports, Published April 06 2011

Hoeven proposes FEMA change levee rule

WASHINGTON – In a meeting Tuesday, Sen. John Hoeven asked Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to work with him to change a current FEMA rule that disallows the construction of permanent levees on flooded lands bought out by the agency.

Because FEMA may not be able to alter the rule administratively, Hoeven plans to offer legislation in the Senate that would give FEMA the statutory authority to approve the construction of permanent dikes under circumstances where it would be more cost effective and sensible to do so.

The FEMA rule prohibits the building of structures and development in areas likely to flood, in which case natural drainage and a greenway makes sense to avoid further emergency measures. In the case of Cass County and other areas along the Red River where homes are already at risk, permanent diking is a less expensive alternative to temporary annual mitigation.