Tester, Daines, Rosendale Urge FEMA to Provide Flood Mitigation Assistance to Montana

FEMA’s new ‘Swift Current Initiative’ would provide flood mitigation resources, disaster aid

U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Matt Rosendale today sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell urging the agency to make Montana eligible to receive funds through FEMA’s new Swift Current Initiative, which would make communities affected by severe flooding eligible for Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA). Currently, FEMA is only offering this funding opportunity to Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, states affected by Hurricane Ida.

“We write to you today to urge you to make Montana eligible to receive funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Swift Current Initiative,” the Montana delegation wrote. “By getting federal resources that include mitigation assistance to folks impacted by flooding as quickly as possible they can start their recovery while reducing the risk of facing these same challenges in the future… While the full extent of the damage is still unknown, it is imperative that we immediately begin directing sufficient federal resources to the affected communities, and we must help these communities rebuild in a way that mitigates similar damage in the future.”

The Swift Current Initiative provides flood mitigation assistance funding to properties insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that suffer severe flood damage, and is a new program stemming from the recently implemented bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The initiative explores ways to make flood mitigation assistance available within the disaster recovery timeframe for repetitively flooded and substantially damaged buildings insured under the NFIP in advance of the annual grant process. The delegation is requesting FEMA expand the initiative beyond states affected by Hurricane Ida.

Last week the Montana Congressional Delegation urged FEMA to approve the State of Montana’s request to designate Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties for Individual Assistance. It is recommended that individuals and businesses in affected communities document disaster related damages and expenses in order to be prepared if individual assistance is made available. This includes taking photos of damage and repairs; keeping receipts for hotels, clothing, and other personal property used to replace or address damage caused by the flooding; and keeping notes on how it is connected to the emergency.

Last week, the delegation urged the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to provide outfitters, guides, and other members of affected communities support and flexibility in finding alternative options to operate on public lands in the wake of catastrophic flooding in Southwest Montana.

Earlier this month, the Montana delegation successfully urged the Federal Highway Administration to take immediate action and provide much needed funding through the FWHA Emergency Relief Program to areas affected by flooding resulting in $3 million in funding for Montana roads and highways. They also sent a letter to President Biden, urging the approval of a major disaster declaration and activation of critical FEMA public assistant and support for recovery efforts. The State of Montana submitted a disaster declaration request to the federal government on June 15, 2022 in response to major flooding across south-central Montana, which was approved by President Biden the next day. Severe weather has resulted in significant property damage to homes, businesses, roads, sewers, water systems and Yellowstone National Park. Acting Governor Kirsten Juras declared a statewide disaster on June 14, 2022.

Read the delegation’s full letter HERE.