Peterson, Klobuchar, Smith Call on FEMA to Ensure Accurate Flood Mapping

Oct 31, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) are fighting to prevent Norman County families from having to purchase unnecessary flood insurance by ensuring access to accurate flood maps. In a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Minnesota lawmakers urged FEMA to delay issuing new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the area until they have been updated to include the flood control projects currently underway.

“FEMA has the responsibility to ensure their flood mapping is accurate and takes into account the important work our communities are doing to protect against flood damage,” the lawmakers said. “By failing to incorporate upcoming flood protection projects, FEMA is creating unnecessary burden for Minnesota families. Delaying new maps is a commonsense solution”

“The Wild Rice Watershed District really appreciates the efforts of our legislators to help in this situation,” the Wild Rice Watershed District said.

Halstad and Hendrum Mayors Lori DeLong and Curt Johannsen praised the lawmaker’s efforts.

“Congressman Collin Peterson, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Tina Smith are true advocates for rural MN,” Mayor DeLong said. “Their support in asking FEMA to delay its Red River Valley Flood Plain mapping process will certainly have a positive impact for the City of Halstad. A FEMA decision to delay the mapping process will ensure our citizens are not subject to flood insurance requirements. The City of Halstad is currently in an active levee reconstruction project which is slated to be completed in the later of 2019 which will ensure FEMA recertification of the city levee system. With the delay of the mapping process and upon the completion of the levee reconstruction project, the City of Halstad can avoid any detrimental cost to its citizens. The City of Halstad truly appreciates the work and dedication of its United States Congress Representatives!”

“The citizens of the community of Hendrum greatly appreciate and are thankful for the efforts of Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Tina Smith, and Congressman Collin Peterson in assisting us with working with FEMA,”  Mayor Johannsen said. “Senator Klobuchar, Senator Smith, and Congressman Peterson have always been there when the City of Hendrum, as well as others in the State of Minnesota, needed them. It is assuring to know that our federal delegation listens and stands up for all its constituents in Minnesota. Thank-you Senator Klobuchar, Senator Smith, and Congressman Peterson!”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Administrator Long,

On behalf of the City of Hendrum, the City of Halstad, and the Wild Rice Watershed District, we are requesting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) delay issuing new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Norman County, Minnesota.

As you know, Hendrum and Halstad are nearing the completion of multiple Army Corps of Engineers flood control projects to protect their communities. However, the current preliminary maps as shown at the Consultation Coordination Officer meeting on May 21, 2018 do not include the significant progress both cities have made in their levee improvement projects. Moreover, these efforts are expected to be completed by the end of 2019, ensuring both cities meet FEMA levee accreditation standards and rendering the preliminary FIRM obsolete by the time they are made effective.

Finalizing flood maps that FEMA knows will be immediately outdated is counterproductive to the goal of the program, which is to give residents the most accurate understanding of and protection against the flood risk for the area.

We urge you to work with the communities of Hendrum and Halstad, the State of Minnesota, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to coordinate mapping efforts with the forthcoming flood control projects to ensure that the new finals maps for Norman County are comprehensive and accurate.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.