Branstad to tour western Iowa flood zone


June 27th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Governor Branstad says Missouri River flooding has already done “tens of millions of dollars” in damage. Branstad will be conducting an aerial tour of the sprawling Missouri River’s run along Iowa’s western border. “Today I’m going back to Sioux City and Council Bluffs to get a first-hand view of the flood situation and the work that’s been going on,” Branstad says. Branstad has asked for a presidential disaster declaration for the six counties that border the Missouri River, and Branstad says he “can’t imagine” the president won’t grant it.

“That’s important because communities like Hamburg and Council Bluffs and Sioux City and virtually all the communities along the Missouri River have expended a lot of money to protect themselves and they should be eligible for 80 percent reimbursement and also the state’s match as well,” Branstad says. “And so we anticipate this will be a substantial cost at all levels, but under the FEMA guidelines, the federal government should pick up at least 80 percent of this.”

Some concerns have been raised about a nuclear power plant just across the border in Nebraska which is surrounded by water, but Branstad says he’s been “assured” there is no danger to the public. “It is surrounded by water, but it is also actually shut down right now anyway for maintenance purposes,” Branstad says, “and they feel very confident there is no danger with it whatsoever.”

Branstad will fly in a Black Hawk helicopter from Sioux City to Council Bluffs this afternoon. He has on-the-ground meetings in both cities with local officials involved in the flood fight. Branstad will be along the Mississippi River tomorrow (Tuesday) to welcome President Obama to Bettendorf and the governor plans to visit with Obama about that presidential disaster declaration request for the Missouri River corridor. Branstad also spoke with the governors of Montana and North Dakota this past weekend to compare notes on the status of the Missouri River basin.

(Radio Iowa)