Aug 18 2011
PIERRE — U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., is hosting a roundtable for the public in Pierre Friday with state and local officials, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials and members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Congressional Committee.
Noem has invitied Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to come tour Pierre and particiapate in the roundtable. Noem and Chairman Mica will also participate in the roundtable discussion with Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Chairman Mica leads the Congressional committee with oversight over the Corps of Engineers and corps programs,” said Noem. “I’m pleased he will have a chance to see some of the flooding damage firsthand and hear directly from those who have been impacted by the corps water management decisions.”
Any legislation that governs the corps must go through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The committee would have jurisdiction over any potential laws governing the corps. Congress can legislate and the corps would have to follow the law.
Col. Bob Ruch, commander of the Corps’ Omaha District, who will be present at Friday’s sessions, said he expects the public will ask many questions regarding several aspects of the flood and the corps’ response. However, Ruch said the corps will being saying the same things it has through the entire event.
“There is one version of the truth and we’ll continue to tell it,” he said Tuesday in the corps’ daily conference call.
“We feel horrible for people who are out of their homes and who have property that is ruined. All we can do is tell them what happened and it is hard to accept. I have only one story that this is the truth.”
“All South Dakotans know how devastating the flooding has been this summer,” said Noem. “It is encouraging that Representatives outside the Missouri River Basin are paying careful attention.
“Having the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over the Army Corps of Engineers come see the situation firsthand is an important step in continuing discussions on what needs to be done to avoid this kind of event in the future.”
The roundtable will be held in the Ramkota Hotel’s Amphitheatre 2 from 10:30 a.m.- noon.
Heather Mangan contributed to this report.
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