Grassley, Ernst Press Army Corps of Engineers on Flawed Policy for Prioritizing Flood Control Projects
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst today pressed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explain the flawed policy that leads to the downgrading of flood control projects in Iowa cities for funding prioritization. Grassley and Ernst cited Cedar Rapids and Des Moines as losing priority under the broken formula.
“It appears that the budget prioritization process may be biased against smaller cities and towns,” Grassley and Ernst wrote to the Corps. “In addition to failing to give adequate weight to the public safety risk, refusing to fund flood damage reduction and risk management projects in smaller cities and towns can be penny wise and pound foolish. Without sufficient flood risk management structures, the flood damages to a small city or town recur again and again. Millions of dollars are spent to implement temporary protection measures and billions of dollars are spent to pay for emergency recovery efforts after-the-fact. As a result, the city centers face economic development issues and property values can decrease.”
Grassley and Ernst pressed for answers to a series of questions, such as whether the Corps considers the economic losses of temporary flood control measures instead of permanent steps and how public safety and loss of life are considered in the decision-making process to budget for and fund flood risk reduction projects. They asked for “concrete examples” of past decisions showing how the Corps considers public safety and loss of life in the decision-making process and for a complete list of pending projects.
Earlier, Ernst and Grassley demanded answers from the Corps on why the Cedar Rapids flood control project hasn’t been completed. Grassley gave a speech on the Senate floor expressing frustration with the Corps’ bureaucracy.
The Grassley-Ernst letter is available here.