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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 13, 1995
                           FOR  NORTH DAKOTA

The President today has taken action to protect life and property from the relentless threat of rising water in the state of North Dakota's Devil Lake Basin by determining that certain Federal aid roads in the basin area are eligible for assistance from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) emergency fund.

Devils Lake is the largest natural lake in North Dakota. Since July of 1993, the volume of water in the closed basin has doubled, increasing the height of the lake by 10 feet and the volume by one-third. The Lake is now at its highest point in 110 years.

"My Administration is committed to standing by the people of North Dakota as they confront the continuing threat of rising waters in Devils Lake," the President said.

The eligibility was based on FHWA's finding that the roadways were critical to restoring essential traffic services and would likely remain underwater for an extended period of time unless the work is done to raise the roadways.

Federal disaster assistance is currently being provided to the state and affected local governments for flooding under the President's major disaster declaration of May 16, 1995. The assistance includes payment through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of 75 percent of the eligible costs incurred to protect life and property and ensure that the damaged government infrastructure will continue to support the needs of its populations.

FEMA also is providing funding of up to $1.2 million for state-selected hazard mitigation projects, and is currently evaluating the Governor's request for Disaster Unemployment Assistance under the current declaration.

In addition, as a result of an assessment team review last May, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has provided $100,000 in emergency funds to accelerate technical assistance to area landowners and information and education on the Swampbuster and Wetland Reserve Programs. The NRCS has also determined that Wetland Reserve Program Funds can be spent in Devils Lake, but neither Water Bank Program nor Conservation Reserve Program funds can be supplemented.