Senator John Thune
South Dakotans along the Missouri River continue to make significant progress in the clean-up and recovery efforts following the historic flooding of 2011. While these recovery efforts continue in earnest, many questions still need to be answered regarding what went wrong and what action should be taken to help prevent similar flooding in the future.
After leading the request for a Senate hearing earlier this summer to examine the decisions that were made in the lead-up to the flood, I was pleased that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on October 18th. While the hearing focused broadly on flooding throughout the nation, my Missouri River colleagues and I used it as an opportunity to highlight the tough questions on our constituents’ minds. While the Army Corps officials at the hearing failed to fully answer many of the questions presented to them, I believe the hearing gave a voice to many of the frustrated South Dakota flood victims.
Accountability will be an important tool in preventing future flood disasters and it is important for all who have been affected to speak out. The Army Corps will be holding public meetings throughout the Missouri River Basin in the coming weeks to discuss the Annual Operating Plan for the Missouri River, including one in Pierre on November 2nd. Additionally, citizens can make their voices heard through written comments that can be sent via email to the Army Corps of Engineers at: Missouri.Water.Management@nwd02.usace.army.mil. Written comments will be accepted until November 25, 2011.
I encourage all who are affected by the disastrous 2011 flooding to make their voices heard.