Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today led a bipartisan group of 14 Missouri River Senators in sending a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee leadership requesting a hearing in the near future to examine the management of water levels along the Missouri River prior to the recent historic flooding and to examine current flood prevention practices along the Missouri River.

"After the historic levels of flooding subside and South Dakotans begin to recover from this tragedy, I am committed to ensuring that we analyze all of the water management decisions that led up to this flooding, including reevaluating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Master Manual," said Thune. "In addition to being in frequent contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' leadership, and other state, local, and federal authorities, I believe we need to have open and transparent hearings in the U.S. Senate to determine what caused this historic flooding and make sure that it never happens again. I look forward to working with Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe to arrange for such hearings in the near future."

The full text of the Senators' letter is included below.

July 8, 2011

The Honorable Barbara Boxer                                    The Honorable James Inhofe
Chairman                                                                 Ranking Republican Member
United States Senate Committee on                           United States Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works                                  Environment and Public Works
410 Dirksen Senate Office Building                          456 Dirksen Senate Office Building             
Washington, D.C. 20510                                            Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe:

We write to request a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee regarding the flooding of the Missouri River this year.

As you know, the historic flooding of the Missouri River is having a tremendous impact on our constituents and is not expected to recede for a few months. Throughout our states, citizens face tremendous disruption to their lives as their homes are flooded, their businesses shuttered, their roads are washed-out, and their livelihoods are threatened. This is also creating a tremendous strain on state and local governments which must deal with not only many of the costs of flood prevention and public safety, but also with depressed tax receipts as tourism, farming, and other business activities are negatively impacted.

While we are all currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and other state and local entities to prevent damage and prepare for recovery, we will, after the waters recede, need to understand the causes of this flood and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Many of our constituents have serious concerns about the management of water levels in the lead up to this unprecedented flood event as well as the timeliness of the warnings given to individuals, businesses, and state and local governments that a flood would occur. We believe this hearing should address the causes of this flooding, the Corps' response and management of the dams, whether or not the Master Manual used by the Corps impacted flood protection efforts, a full accounting of the costs of the flooding, and what actions are needed to lessen the likelihood and limit the damages of another flood of this magnitude in the future.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to continuing to work with you on these issues and stand ready to participate in such a hearing at the appropriate time.


John Thune (R-S.D.)
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
Max Baucus (D-Mont.)