Governor asks Obama to tour flooded areas
BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple has invited President Barack Obama to tour the flood devastation in North Dakota.
Dalrymple spoke on the phone with the president Monday afternoon and thanked him for the presidential disaster declaration, Dalrymple spokeswoman Jody Link said.
Dalrymple also invited the president to take an aerial tour to see what's happening with the Missouri and Souris rivers, as well as Devils Lake.
Dalrymple also pressed for the federal government to expand individual assistance in the state. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance Program will not cover all flood damages, but is designed to relieve the impact of losses for people with low and moderate incomes.
Dalrymple requested approval for 22 counties and two reservations. So far, Burleigh and Ward counties -- which include Bismarck and Minot -- have been approved.
Dalrymple said he wants FEMA to look at counties in clusters so they are all treated the same within each of the flood areas. For example, Burleigh and Morton counties should be looked at the same, as well as Ward/McHenry/Renville and Ramsey/Benson/Nelson.
Dalrymple said he told Obama the state is headed for the threshold necessary for a 90-10 cost split, with 90 percent federal and 10 percent state and local. He asked Obama to provide that level of funding to help the state recover from record flooding.
"I would like him to declare that immediately so we can begin making good decisions and simplify the paperwork," Dalrymple said.
The president said he would take all of the requests under consideration, but it's unknown what the odds are of Obama coming to North Dakota, Dalrymple said.
"I think that it's certainly a disaster of the magnitude that justifies the president having a look, but I have no idea what his schedule is like or what may be possible," Dalrymple said.
Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.