Washington, DC-Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) pushed for funding that could aid the West Pittston levee project. In a letter to a key Senate committee with oversight over flood funding, Casey called on the Committee to support the current funding in the House proposal of $20 million. The so-called ‘Section 205’ program is part of the Small Flood Risk Management Project (SFRMP) This imitative, the 2015 budget funding for which is uncertain, helps provide federal funding to smaller flood control projects that don’t require extensive studies and authorization procedures.
West Pittston, Pennsylvania is one example of a municipality that could benefit from an increase in funding. In September 2011 the borough experienced a flood that caused millions of dollars in damage to more than 400 homes. Subsequently, West Pittston has revamped efforts to consider construction of a levee, but a backlog in requests for the SFRMP continues to delay federal analysis of this effort.
“The 2011 flood that devastated West Pittston serves as a stark reminder that it is far more economical to manage flooding before it occurs, rather than wait until the damage hits,” Senator Casey said. “The Army Corps of Engineers is currently backed up with requests from municipalities like West Pittston that need assistance to help protect their communities from damaging floods. I urge my colleagues to strongly consider helping to ease this backlog by providing the additional funding.”
The SFRMP is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, as authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1948. Qualifying projects are only accepted if they are economical, environmentally sound, and technically feasible. In Fiscal Year 2014 the SFRMP received $15 million in federal funding.
The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Chairwomen, Vice Chairman, and Ranking Member:
As the Subcommittee prepares the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, I urge you to support the House proposal to provide $20 million in funding for the Small Flood Risk Management Project from Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, which is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In Fiscal Year 2014 the Small Flood Risk Management Project program received $15 million in federal funding.
Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948 authorizes the USACE to plan and construct small flood damage reduction projects totaling $7 million or less in partnership with non-Federal government agencies. Each project is planned and designed under this authority and will only be accepted if it is economically justifiable, environmentally sound, and technically feasible. Moreover, through structural and nonstructural alternatives, these projects better prepare communities for rising waters. The borough of West Pittston, Pennsylvania is just one example of a community in need of such funding. West Pittston, which is located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County, is not protected by a levee. The borough therefore continuously endures the threat of flooding each time river levels rise. The risk facing West Pittston again came into focus in September 2011 when the borough experienced millions of dollars in damage to more than 400 homes caused by flood waters from the Susquehanna River. Today West Pittston is making efforts to protect its community from future damage, and funding from the Section 205 program can help the borough evaluate options to manage risks associated with flooding.
In closing, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your consideration of my request. It is imperative that this program get the funding it needs in order to ensure proper remediation of these locations so that the taxpayers who live near these sites get can have the peace of mind they deserve. I stand ready to provide any additional information to the Committee.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator