Harsh winter weather and flooding have already taken large toll on state’s infrastructure and commerce
(U.S. Senate) – To prepare for more dangerous flooding as temperatures rise, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is calling for a “swift and effective response” from the federal government to provide support for Montana communities.
Tester is pushing FEMA and the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior, to stand ready to provide support and resources to farmers, ranchers, local governments, and businesses impacted by catastrophic flooding.
“This spring melt is severely impacting road conditions in Montana,” Tester wrote. “Dozens of miles of Interstate 90 and numerous roads across the state are closed due to flooding. The weather forecast is calling for another winter storm with heavy wet snow later this week, which will likely worsen conditions within the state.”
Ice jams along the Bighorn River have caused extensive flooding in Southeast Montana, even closing sections of Interstate 90 from Hardin to the Wyoming state line, and more flooding is expected to wreak havoc across the state as snow melts and rain moves through the region.
Tester wrote that, in addition to flooding, the harsh winter has caused waterlines on Crow Agency to burst, leaving residents there without access to safe drinking water.
“With the damaged infrastructure, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) water treatment plant cannot currently treat enough water to meet essential needs of the community,” Tester wrote. “Some residents have been without tap water for more than a week, which is a problem that must be expeditiously addressed.”
Tester also pushed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to prioritize the Livestock Indemnity Program to ensure that ranchers facing hardship due to severe weather are able to recover from devastating financial losses.
Tester recently secured $17 million to fix roads damaged in last spring’s historic flooding.