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Authorizing State or Local Government to Construct Levees on Certain Properties

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LUETKEMEYER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express some concerns regarding S. 2039, introduced by Sen. Hoeven, and sent to this body after unanimous consent in the Senate. I am concerned that this language, though well intentioned, is vague and could potentially result in negative consequences downstream, should this language be signed into law.

I remain concerned that the language could be applied to rivers beyond the Souris and the Red, without explicit Congressional intent. There is potential, although small, for levee construction to take place up and down the stretch of Missouri River that runs through North Dakota, resulting in negative consequences throughout the Missouri River basin.

I am comforted by the fact that there seems to be a rigorous FEMA review and approval process for construction of these levees, and I trust that the author's intentions are to allow for construction of new levees along only the Souris River and the Red River at specified locations. I appreciate the steps taken by the gentleman from North Dakota, Mr. Berg, to address these concerns and to make very clear for future reference that Congressional intent is to show that this legislation is intended to apply only to locations along the Souris and Red Rivers.

Mr. Speaker, our nation has gone too long without improving our levee systems. I do applaud the efforts to allow municipalities to take into their own hands efforts to rehabilitate systems. At the same time, it is important that they meet all necessary guidelines and do not injure other states and communities along a river bank.

I look forward to continuing this important conversation with the gentlemen from North Dakota.

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