Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today received assurance from the Administration that emergency personnel will be on the ground to manage flooding in Fargo-Moorhead despite furloughs and budget cuts due to sequestration. At a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on the oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service Klobuchar pressed the Honorable Kathryn D. Sullivan, Acting NOAA Administrator and Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, on the need for the National Weather Service to maintain critical disaster forecast and prediction services to minimize the impact of natural disasters and keep communities safe. Klobuchar underscored the importance of flood prediction services given rising spring temperatures and the heavy snowpack in the region, which will significantly impact Red River levels and Administrator Sullivan confirmed that fast-melting snow increases the risk of flooding.
“This year’s potentially record-high flood risk on the Red River highlights the need for disaster preparedness and state-of-the-art forecasting and prediction services to protect communities like Fargo-Moorhead,” Klobuchar said.“I’ve pushed the Administration to ensure the Fargo-Moorhead area has the resources it needs to move forward, and I will continue to work to make sure these critical programs remain strong to keep people across the state safe.”
Last week the Administration announced $7.4 million in funding for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project in Fiscal Year 2013, 60 percent more than originally allocated. Klobuchar, along with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), recently met with President Obama and pushed the Administration to give the project the resources it needs. Klobuchar was in Moorhead last week and met with Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland and local officials to discuss the city’s flood preparations. She has made the flood diversion project one of her top priorities in the Water Resources Development Act that the Senate is soon expected to consider, and last year joined Hoeven, former Senator Kent Conrad and U.S. Representative Rick Berg in supporting the project at a Civil Works Review Board meeting, along with state and local officials. Klobuchar also met with Major General Merdith W.B. (Bo) Temple, Acting Chief of Engineers and Acting Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to stress the critical importance of permanent flood protection for the area.