WASHINGTON, D.C.—After meeting with Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate on June 22, 2011, and speaking with flood victims in Dakota Dunes, Ft. Pierre, and Oacoma this past weekend, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today sent a letter to Administrator Fugate requesting clarification on the June 1, 2011, “flood in progress” date for the National Flood Insurance Program coverage.
The full text of Thune’s letter is included below.
June 28, 2011
The Honorable W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street Southwest
Washington, DC 20024
Dear Administrator Fugate:
Thank you for the briefing you provided Senators Ben Nelson, Mike Johanns, Chuck Grassley, and me at our meeting on Wednesday, June 22nd.
During our meeting, you emphasized that, while June 1, 2011 is the “flood in progress” date for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage regarding the current flooding along the Missouri River, each individual claim would be assessed regardless of the date a flood insurance policy was purchased, and a determination could be made that the flood damage occurred for a flood that is not directly related to the June 1st “flood in progress” date.
As I travel the affected regions of my state and visit with residents, I encounter some confusion on this issue. For example, six inches of rain fell in the Pierre/Ft. Pierre area on June 21st, which caused severe flooding on the Bad River, and was the proximate cause of flood damage to several homes in Ft. Pierre. From my understanding of the discussion during our meeting, a resident of a home in Ft. Pierre damaged by flooding from the Bad River might not necessarily be impacted by the June 1st “flood in progress” date.
One of the unique characteristics of the 2011 Missouri River flooding is the length of time it will last. We are told by the Army Corps of Engineers that we will continue to see increased releases from the six dams along the Missouri River well into the month of August, which is still over 30 days away. Therefore, it is foreseeable that there could very possibly be multiple flood events intertwined with the Missouri River flood, but still distinct from the June 1st “flood in progress” date that is directly linked to the increased water releases from the Garrison Dam in North Dakota.
Because there is a likelihood that individuals and homes near the Missouri River could sustain flood damage in July, August, or even later this year—which at this point is outside of the 30 day waiting period required under the NFIP—I would like you to give a clear indication about whether or not you would advise individuals and homeowners in South Dakota to buy flood insurance right now, regardless of the fact that you have declared June 1st to be the “flood in progress” date. I would also like your definitive response regarding the ability of homeowners to purchase flood insurance—irrespective of the June 1st “flood in progress” date—should there be a levee breach later this summer in one of the communities in South Dakota that has constructed such emergency measures.
Because this is a time-sensitive matter, please respond in writing to this question as soon as possible, and no later than Friday, July 1, 2011.
United States Senator
cc: The Honorable Janet Napalitano, Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable Robin Finegan, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region VIII
Major General Merdith “Bo” Temple, Army Corps of Engineers
Major General William T. Grisoli, Army Corps of Engineers
Brigadier General John McMahon, Army Corps of Engineers
Colonel Robert J. Ruch, Army Corps of Engineers
The Honorable Dennis Daugaard, Governor