The waters of 2011 may have receded but lawmakers are working to prevent another flood in 2012. The House Missouri River Flood Working Group will hold a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30 to discuss the 2011 flood. It will be hosted by the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Representative Kristi Noem, R-S.D., says it will be a good chance to get additional answers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how the flood happened and how to prevent a reoccurrence.
"That is truly what this group wants to do," Noem said. "They want to first of all identify what the Corps knew and when they knew it; what went wrong; where the decision making went wrong and then make recommendations or changes to how they operate in the future."
The Corps is currently conducting its own meetings on the 2012 Annual Operating Plan of the Missouri River system. Noem says the Working Group is concerned the Corps won't modify management based on 2011, which could put the Missouri River states in the same position in 2012.
"This will be a great opportunity to get them on the record with a lot of how the process has gone and what they have the authority to and not to do," Noem said. "I asked them specifically when we had the meeting in Pierre if they had the authority under the master manual to release more water sooner and they said publically that they did have the authority, they could have released water quicker. So I don't know necessarily if it's a problem of not having authority or if it's just that more we're making sure that they are actually listening to the warning signs and taking action."
Noem says the D.C. hearing will allow House members to voice questions and concerns about the 2012 plan and press the Corps on whether decisions made this year had any impact on their plan for next year.