tv U.S. Army Corps Testifies on Hurricane Ida Response CSPAN October 6, 2021 4:33pm-5:51pm EDT
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[background noises] [background noises] >> good morning, i am pleased to join senator capitol and our colleagues calling this hearing to order. often, everyone pretty to allow witnesses bring us from army corps of engineers, major general ran. how long have they been calling you butch? >> since i was born, i'm a junior and i got ran they didn't call me billy graham aspect. >> all right. my mother wanted me to grow up
-- we spent a lot of time in a baptist church if you know what i mean. welcome, butch graham, nice to see you again and colonel steve murphy, glad you could join us today and the folks behind you, we welcome all of you. thank you for joining us, this has become all too frequent over the past couple of years providing emergency response and the aftermath of extreme weather. each witness comes from a different position from of the core from different parts of the country talking about that. they will be able to share with us their points of view in response to hurricane ida as well as their thoughts on investing resilient water resources and infrastructure building back better. as we all know since 1980, north atlantic hurricanes have become more intense and unfortunately,
more frequent. the trend is projected to continue in the years ahead as our planet continues to of our , local and state work together in step two improve resiliency of our infrastructure so we can withstand extreme storms. fourteen and a half billion dollars connection system after hurricane katrina, a great example. mark, all of government approach to resilience, one federal government of the total cost and the state of louisiana has begun to pay back its share in december arrangement on the highway in delaware. if you get to drive out of here in a couple weeks, you can see, if you maryland delaware 301
funding the money. it's pain with tolls. when hurricane ida made landfall exactly 16 years after katrina, the system on the first test and unfortunately, we held strong and prevent catastrophic flooding in new orleans we saw in 2005 this is where we can see federal investment in resilience dividends. challenge still remains, the biggest obstacles with projects like the one in louisiana as well as delaware reimbursements from the court to cover the cost of operating and maintaining his projects after they are constructed. the court in politics and budget shortfalls, recovery all of these state to foot the bills. the area is strapped for resources and unable to make investments in resilience they
so desperately need. we know the need is real, states are higher including our economy and homes and peoples lives and livelihoods are at stake. look how louisiana fared during ida while sophisticated water infrastructure to protect the city from flooding from other communities in the state court devastated. we might have a photo of fat. there we go. i home state of delaware, the path of ida's limits as the storm turned north, we experienced severe beach erosion and flooding in wind gusts of 60 miles an hour we have -- yes, i shot bridge road that we saw. new jersey face similar erosion and videos of water rushing in new york city's government systems while the finer number of deaths from ida is not yet in
so we know of 29 confirmed that's in louisiana, more than 40 in new york and new jersey with that's reporting at least seven additional states. in addition to human tolls, experts project impact at $90 billion, the seventh costliest hurricane to hit the united states 2000. think about that, seven hurricanes, each responsible for $90 billion in economic impact all within 20 years. seventh within 20 here's and like all major storms from ida has taught us a lot including what works and what does not work and why we can be thankful for human engineering to protect one of the nation's most vital part systems from modest destruction we must also recognize causes of climate change, the u.s. will continue to face natural disasters increasing severity and intensity but even more
devastating impacts and that's why we need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions via increase investments in resilience creating jobs while doing so. benjamin franklin once said pension is worth a pound of. , still ringing true today. corps of engineers providing tremendous value to our nation as a primary provider of water, resources, infrastructure and more extreme product it's caused by climate, a change in climate has never been more important, better infrastructure stands up to the glory challenge and protects the people who represent. we look forward to hearing each of your testimonies today and i want to turn to our wing man and woman, partners in crime here, doing a lot of good. we have competing hearings going
on, i have a business meeting going on, security, are you suture it a business meeting performing to do that and you are in charge with witnesses here and i'll come back as fast as i can. >> thank you and good morning to everybody, it's good to see a familiar face here if major general ran who serve as commander in the pittsburgh district in progress, you were my core leader which covers a significant portion of my state in west virginia. thank you for being here today and the warm hospitality extended by you and your team to the committee staff during their visit core facility in louisiana earlier this year and i want to thank you also, general for being here with us today. thank you for your service and i know some of it has not been domestic from some has been international, thank you for
that. we watched impacts and aftermath of hurricane ida both in louisiana but also the northeast. tragically estimated 82 people lost their lives and billions of dollars in damages. those of us from states and communities recently experiencing terrible natural disasters from a fellow americans impacted by the hurricane. both ranking member of this committee and also, security appropriations subcommittee, my staff and i we must response to the disaster and efforts other agencies providing support such as core, how important that it the most recent cap is more than 710 personnel deployed and received 24 mission assignments totally to $23.4 million in response to hurricane ida. the fourth issue 2.5 million infantile hopeful emergency fund under public law 84 -- 99 if the funding went toward protections and repair of vertical
infrastructure as well as provisions equipment and facilities to fight floods and painting essential services. i want to reiterate my gratitude to the men and women of the core performing these critical functions. i am eager to hear from you the course efforts and help the nation respond and recover from these disasters in the future. by all accounts and our chair talked about this, hurricane storm damage reduction system known as citrus for your lives authorized by congress and constructed by the court, catastrophe of hurricane katrina performed as intended. the system provided -- preventive more significant loss of life and severe damage to the city. not all areas are covid by this system and that's where we saw devastation and unprotected communities in louisiana replicated in the northeastern states supports legal state and
federal partners work together to identify and address existing gaps and flood risk management and cultural storm damage reduction. 5.7 billion in supplemental funding provided by congress on the court last week would support these efforts. solutions will take time which is why it's important for continues to work with communities to identify and mitigate risks silver jackets program planning assistance to state and other authorities. challenges suggested improvements to existing technical assistance program or something i'm keen on hearing from all of you. i am eager to hear how we can support the efforts to help the nation respond and recover from disasters in the future the committee will do its part in this by authorizing individual projects studies and providing direction to the court for water resources development
legislation which we are engaged in right now. let me reiterate our gratitude and i want to thank chairman for having this hearing so i'd like to introduce our witnesses. first, major general william which graham is a current deputy commanding general for civil emergency operations headquarters u.s. army corps of engineers where he oversees civil quirks activities. seven billing dollar annual program and responses to storms and other natural disasters. previous court assignment including a matter of north atlantic division pittsburgh strict from which he hailed. our second witness is general tom, current commander of north atlantic division overseen five billing dollar annual program covering districts including activities in more than a dozen states. africa and europe. previous command assignments include savanna division in philadelphia district.
third witness murphy, current commander of the new orleans district where he oversees all four activities in southern louisiana. you are a busy man. he previously made a national district of the corps of engineer. i want to welcome each of you to the committee today and appreciate your service to the country and look forward to your statement. general graham, we'll start with you. >> making member capitol into distinct members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today to discuss the emergency response to ida. deputy commanding general first emergency operations here. i like to start by extending sincere condolences to the mas who lost loved ones during hurricane ida. thoughts and prayers without impacted by the storm. as mentioned hurricane ida landfall august 29, as a category four storm and began to
draw comparisons to hurricane katrina. as mentioned following hurricane katrina and devastating flooding in the city of new orleans, 14.5 billing dollar hurricane storm damage reduction system was built in as its name implies, it was built to reduce risk of flooding caused by storms to the city. during hurricane ida, the system performed exactly as designed. the projects core build helped reduce flood risk of vulnerable communities and we must be prepared to respond when some of the platypus are realized. this aspect of resiliency is achieved through emergency response partnerships fema, state and local governments and key contracting partners in response to hurricane ida as many as 7604 personnel have been deployed so we snuck an extra 50 in on you. the corps has 24 assignments totaling almost a quarter billion dollars. as mentioned on the phone for 99
authorities, court issued 2.59 flood control and cultural emergency fund. part of this massive response fema i'm proud of i'd like to highlight one patient, temporary group. operation blue roof managed by the court on behalf of. the goal is to provide waters disaster areas with industrial strength to protect storm damaged roofs that allows residents to return to their homes restarting global communities and economies. since september 1, the court received over 34000 ballot requests and as up with money, we've completed over half, 17000 groups have been installed to date. last year for the two hurricanes that hit the gulf coast, the court installed 1300013000 last year end we are up to 34000 we need to install this year end we've completed 17002 date.
this increase provides the perspective how damaging ida was. after any event working with fema, we evaluate ourselves to see where we can improve. temporary roofing commission even though we are installing groups in twice the rate as previous efforts, we are looking for ways to get started sooner speeding up how to get work orders to contractors and bring in contractors early greek landfall's. looking profit, containing to seek severe weather events across the nation pretty plaster alone we've responded 28 different disasters including ten hurricanes, nine major floods and three major wildfires. one way we respond to this in the future is by incorporating climate change resiliency into planning process given the scale of climate change a broader and more reasonable approach. recently, chief of engineers made recommendations for the authorization of the $29 billion systemwide risk management
strategy for the coastline of texas. when looking at any future product, we understand we need to comprehensively evaluate and analyze all product benefits. water resources department act of 2020 creative flexibility with the army corps to address the needs of economically disadvantaged communities, minority communities in rural communities. it promotes an approach analyzing multiple benefits for project justifications, social benefits and economic benefits and environmental benefits. authorities in this encourages the use of natural features, accommodating sea level rise and inspire innovative ways to expand beneficial dredge material. we are working hard to put new authorities to work for the american people. thank you for the opportunity to speak today and i look forward to answering questions. >> thank you. >> distinguished members of the committee, commander of the
course north division, thank you for the opportunity to provide context to the course response to hurricane ida in the northeast region. strong risk management is a shared response ability, when executed best whole of community approach the course partners with federal agencies nonfederal stakeholders. this skill set combines with the capability enhance our effectiveness preparing for, responding to and recovering from storm events. in my role, i'm responsible for federal engineering work in all parts of the 14th northeastern face from virginia to maine. before storm hit our region from my districts were able to obtain reliable advanced information and potential ida impacts from a natural hurricane center, u.s. geological survey, national weather service forecast centers and other data. the data obtained through public
law 8499 authority assisted in production of potential consequences adequate bring and we were able to communicate this to fema the state the course mapping. to manage risk owned and operated projects, is a predictive analysis based on for the forecast and division lowered the reservoir elevations before rain arrived to retain maximum amount of flood storage available to reduce potential impact downstream we provided early support to state and local partners by contacting them determine their needs. several district emergency operations centers activated to provide technical assistance. materials such as sandbags and plastic sheeting fighting materials replaced on standby repositioned and ultimately released as needed. when remnants of hurricane ida arrived, who were impacted most by significant events rainfall
overwhelmed storm water systems inundated local streams feeding to flash flood event isolated tornadoes. close emergency assessment, is able to conduct site surveys of locations within the storms impacted areas. these locations include areas for the four productive studies the riverplace of new jersey, and new york. i surveyed site for the quarter has active products like the indian camp in pennsylvania and the river new jersey and i'm happy to report projects performed as designed. i observed areas where there was significant impact on no current or projects were studied like brandywine and the rivers increase in buildup you. we provided technical expertise for the states including a court liaison officer for pennsylvania and new jersey state emergency operations centers and subject
matter experts and debris removal new jersey eeoc and information for the pennsylvania department of transportation. both regions two and three along with the states they supported, pennsylvania and new jersey and new york were satisfied proactive approach. in the aftermath of super storm sandy, congress prepared for permits report analyzing how completed projects performed. the report and other work following sandy heightened to build resilience and coastal storm risk management and flood risk management project. together with federal and nonfederal partners, we are completing post evaluation to determine impacts and develop report for the project. an initial assessment stroke damages incurred to flood risk management product alleged which will require repairs. in addition to repairs and maintenance we conducted on
these, in some cases, or recommend comprehensive assessment of their status to include review of performance criteria and recommendations for updating based on current size from recent storm events and factors such as climate change. implement with the nation's infrastructure, many products require continuing investment in operation to ensure effectiveness. the team is committed to working together with federal inter- agencies, state and local partners to provide best solutions for the tough challenges facing our communities. thank you for inviting us to speak today and look forward to your questions. >> next, colonel murphy. >> good morning distinguished members of the committee. i am the committee of the new orleans district on behalf of my team and i, take you for the opportunity to meet with you today and discuss the response to hurricane ida in my district area of operation. encompasses all louisiana from
texas in the west and mississippi the east day in and day out focusing on large part on coastal climate change issues so louisiana coast is a working coast in the state because it the significance of its activities and waterways and their benefits in the national economy including five of the nations top support, mississippi river, busiest waterway in the nation and economic artery as well as coastal waterway which is the nations third busiest waterway all of which have been and continue to be impacted by golf storms. majority of the states population lives in the southern half of the state and the coast the epicenter of climate change. sea level rise coexists major concerns for both core and the state. consequently, major patients are
navigation, coastal environmental restoration, coastal storm risk management and flood risk management. flooding of any kind whether rainfall, storm surge or river and flooding or occurring a more frequent basis, are crimes of all three at the same time is a major concern for the state and my district. women of my district are resident in south louisiana, during a storm they endure the same impact as our neighbors. for them working with partners to ensure promising future in coastal louisiana is not just professional response about a, it's a personal commitment. during ida, a third of 1100 workforce evacuated out of state to include my wife and children. almost all of us lost power in almost half saw a form of damage to the home 37 of us expensing so much damage from ida that they are not unlivable. while we couldn't be more proud of the greater new orleans area
damn damage resistance it validates investment of 14 and a half billion, i think you've hed that already. other parts of the state are not as fortunate for there was federal investment, flood walls, systems performed as designed. hurricane ida validated and reinforced many of the lessons learned in the last 16 years hurricane katrina made landfall. the systems the federal government invest in have reinforced the value of the course system might approach demonstrated importance of sustainability and resilient the core inc. since then into it design. projects are currently underway incorporating this type greater new orleans area. we are now in day 40 of recovery from hurricane ida. i'll close by saying there could not be a better team to handle natural disasters and climate change and the team gathering federal, state and local in
louisiana. everyone here knows disaster response is truly a team sport i don't think we could work more cooperatively with the state of louisiana and we are right now. personally expensing to of the longest floodlights in our district, the most active atlantic hurricane season in history last year, the covid pandemic now hurricane ida, i can definitively say this is a highly functional collaborative team that's made the states response report of this nbc disasters, especially ida successful. the same cooperation drives the court investigation and implementation of natural solutions that are in sync with the state 50 billion personal master plan. these include measures from beneficial use of dredged material to restoration,
environmental mitigation to the consideration through regulatory program on large-scale division into the coast and making it more resilient. i could go on but out of respect of time and allow for questions, i'll close their and thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you, we will go to questions and belated happy birthday. thank you, 364 days remain until my birthday so appreciate that. thank you all very much for your service, i do appreciate the leadership of the army corps. it's critically important to all of our states. i was in louisiana, new orleans, our committee went down there to see firsthand the damage done and it was shocking to see the amount of loss of life and
property so 14 and a half billing dollar investment is one we all supported and it worked so we are proud of what we were able to do to mitigate hurricane ida and we recognize the storms are becoming more frequent severe and we have a response ability to deal with the realities of climate change both mitigating future pollutants eating greenhouse gases as well as adopt realities and your responsibilities adapting to the realities, i want to touch on this briefly. many years ago we made the decision in maryland to invest from the northeast becoming more and more severe and we invested millions of dollars in the result with billions of dollars of savings savings alike.
so these types of investment pay off dramatically but there is a change in risk factors i'm seeing in our communities and we saw it during ida. we've had flooding before because of the long sequence of rain and causing banks to rise beyond what they can handle and you have dealt with that through but management programs but in recent years we've found something different occur in at a large volume short period of time and that was true during ida. it wasn't really the integrity of the blood system, it's more extreme amount of rain in a short period of time. i mentioned that because in maryland as you all know, we've experienced a 20 month period, 2100 year flood but was unique
about these floods, we've never experienced this type of flooding before. we've seen rivers rise and cause flooding into the city. we've never seen large volume of rain occur in such a short period of time, it couldn't possibly be managed by the current system so my question as we look at these new risk factors from more violent storms, not necessarily hurricanes, a large volume of rain coming down in a short period of time flooding communities, how do we prepare for this? i appreciate you mentioning beneficial use of the materials. we are doing that and replenishing wetlands. it's part of our strategy, the wetlands not only manage the flooding situation but also manages pollutants from runoff is important part of our
prodigy. i'm interested as to what your recommendations are to us to manage the realities of the current risk factors on violent storms occurring a large amount of rain in a short amount of time which is not the way we have traditionally been dealing with infrastructure to prevent flooding. >> thank you for that question and let me address that. we've put together the administration has directed if, a climate action plan and expect that to be relieved soon and it had five major components to it and i think the address your concerns. the five major components are, we have to modernize our approach in our programs and policies deal with a different future. we have to manage better facilities we do operate dams
around philadelphia. we have to enable as murphy to our partners and a lot of that is sharing size, i don't staff members went down to north carolina and saw that being creative so we have to share the information with local partners. that includes actionable data that is stand up to scrutiny folks from local communities, states realize the challenges they are under and finally we've got to plant operations in the future and authorizing committee plays a key role in that. thank you. >> thank you, my time has run out. i would urge us to think about how we can work in partnership to deal with these extreme rain event causing communities to be extremely vulnerable. ...
so we are going to be looking to you in this report to give us a game plan on how they can protect the community the best that we can from the reality of these storms. thank you madam madam chairwoman. >> senator inhofe. >> thank you madam chairman. i know the security is on ida at all for individuals as witnesses were participants in a real tragedy that we face a flooding case in oklahoma where we had levees that were 75 years old well past the bear story lifetime.
it's something that we were very fortunate and since that time we have been on pins and needles but might ask if we should get another one. nonetheless everything is reform very well and the word of language you put into the 2020 system performed general grandmas they future projects do believe it's important to take into account the safety of applied benefits in the tulsa levees? >> senator, absolutely. >> i have to say we really did a good job in terms of the private sector. we had to make some chant --
changes in our current statutes to accommodate that and things did work to work out real well. we don't have any hurricanes that hit oklahoma but what is important to remember is that the oklahoma is connected as arkansas is to the mississippi river. a lot of people have a hard time understanding that we are not inevitable and i probably said this three or 400 times in the last few years. people need to know do we need to be a part of the system and participating that system and they have done actually really good work in terms of the private sector. colonel murphy and i would have to say this i'm sure senator boseman and i have spent a lot of time working on that impact of that navigation we. colonel murphy is it true getting her navigable waterways
open is key to a successful recovery effort and how does the core prioritized efforts following flooding and storm surge events? >> senator thank you for the question i say absolutely. it's one of the first things we are looking to deceive we can get boats on the road and in the water. i have surveyed some of the federal waterways in conjunction with the coast guard to clear them. >> i appreciate that. in the 2019 flooding there was expose a lot of gaps in our system but we are likely -- lucky in oklahoma to have a private sector. we had to bend the law will do to make happen so i would like to ask you to for the panel for the future look at the authorities and blood authorities does the port need to enable them to respond as
capably and to respond in this case and it might be something you could do for the record and get your ideas together as to how can we work more efficiently with the private sector such as we did. okay? very good, thank you. >> thank you. senator whitehouse. >> thank you senator. i'm glad to have you here. i represent rhode island and up in new england the most extreme climate related shift that we have seen has been in the form of his landfall. it was kind of off the charts and in terms of a persistent underlying shift related to climate what we see coming is
sea level rise and we are going to have to redraw the map of rhode island to accommodate for the loss of seashore and what is now land turning into an archipelago of another island. against that backdrop, we have experienced dramatic failure of fema mapping and i read reports that in texas fema mapping was off as much by 50% when the floods hit houston area. as a result of rhode island has had to do it so mapping going back to the original data and bringing in our own scientist. we have had a very i believe active and successful mappings dual -- tool called storm tool. it is annoying as to fund fema
and have the state of rhode island have to pay for its own mapping because fema mapping isn't accurate. i know fema ducked because a lot of the reason for the inaccuracy was they'd have to face climate change and a very powerful force than i do want to punish anyone who talks about climate change and fema took a dive on this one in my view. the results are one that you all have to live with all the time which is bad maps. what are you doing to try to make sure that you are operating off a flood maps them to have to come in with your response people are being clobbered by the fact that they didn't know they were in a flood zone so they didn't have proper insurance and now they are really stuck. here in the middle of all that what's the view from the front? >> senator thank you for that question. in any project that the court
has their two imperatives. they want to make sure we get the engineering right and then we want to make sure we are in control of the projects in the taxpayers money. to your comments to make sure we understand the topography and the hydrology that as we agree with you that absolutely is essential and that's the bedrock of all engineering it's founded on and i will go back and re-look based on the information we provided to make sure we are indeed using the best science available. >> i think often predictions related to climate change or simply zero factored out which is just simply a bad prediction when we know perfectly well what's going on here. we see a change in venue act act as if it's just going to go straight on over rather than to continue its trajectory when they are zero science to support that proposition. it's going to go level so please take a look at that in the other
thing i wanted to flag for this hearing it for my colleagues which i always do is we are talking about ida. ida was a coastal flood. the army corps of engineers had something called the flooding coastal storm damage reduction program and in the last decade it has run between favoring and lend over coastal flooding by 19-1 and that was our best year at the tail end of the 19-1 losing battle, to 120-1. 1 dollar for every $120 lend and the fy22 budget has it at 45-1 somewhere in the middle, 1 dollar of coastal for every $45 lend and i want to thank the core for taking a good hard look at this and find that what the heck is going on but when you look at sea level rising a look at offshore storms and when you look at ida coming ashore to a
coastal storm the idea that you guys have set up your inland, you're flooding coastal storm damage reduction program in a way that is so an explicitly favors inland flooding over coastal flooding that's her matter of real concern to those who live in a coastal state and have huge flooding issues like what storm tools reveal about rhode island so we are working on that. i just didn't want to let this opportunity go by without raising that astounding discrepancy in what it means to my state. thank you. my time is up. >> senator rogan. >> thank you very much and thank you all for being here. we really do appreciate your service to our country and you've all had outstanding careers and have served in so many different ways. i want to associate myself with senator inhofe's words regarding
the importance of getting back on track and the economy and all those kinds kind of things. it truly has been a great champion and a great leader for many years and it really is important. not only to our states but to the economy of the entire country and really the world so major general graham media reports indicate the cost of damage from hurricane ida could be as high as $95 billion. this compares to $170 billion resulting from katrina, $131 million from harvey and 74 billion from sandy. according to estimates by the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. in your testimony you discussed our country invested $14.5 billion to reduce flood risk in new orleans. i like how you use the term invested instead of appropriated
or obligated because infrastructure projects truly are an investment. especially one such is the hurricane storm damage risk reduction system that did protect new orleans which saved this country and more portly saves lives. i guess the question is do you believe the american people received a good return on their $14.5 billion investment and if so, why? >> senator thank you for that question. i think certainly it was a great investment. i was able to visit colonel murphy a week after the storm hit and i was expecting to have to stay in mobile or maybe in baton rouge but a week after the storm hit the amazing city of new orleans was back on its feet and it would not have been back on its feet if it wasn't for that $14.5 billion investment.
>> very good. colonel colonel murphy and your opening statement you talked about a team effort between the federal, state and local government and the levee boards to address the issues caused by hurricane ida. in your opinion how much does it help the core when they are able to lean on the nonfederal sponsors and what are the benefits of having local side-by-side with the federal government when addressing the aftermath of extreme weather events and not only the aftermath but the precursor? >> senator i would say in short having a single nonfederal profit to the state has been invaluable. during a storm i was talking about governor by phonecall and text and talked to chairman cline with the restoration authority and i pushed out what i call lgl local government
liaison for the parish and levee district operations centers and that communication that have facilitated really created we like to say a one door to the core approach whereby questions and concerns are immediately identified and we can solve problems to help quicken our response and i would attribute a lot of that to communication that exists right now to why we've been successful today. >> colonel, what other court constructive storm damage reduction projects within new orleans district apart from hurricane storm damage risk reduction system were impacted by hurricane ida and what is your assessment of their performance? the had the opportunity to be down there in senator scalise is district which buts up to new orleans and after katrina and i
know there was a tremendous impact their. sometimes we leave those areas out and focus on the bigger centers but tell us what else was impacted. >> thank you senator. i would say during my opening remarks any federal system we didn't see any major problem and certainly not on the hurricane storm damage. outside of that we had over $1 billion in supplemental projects that we didn't see any major impacts on. sadly enough for the westshore lake ponchartrain project unfortunately that was not in place. we were moving forward with contracts on that reduced risk to apply which was one of the most heavily impacted areas of
the storm and the majority of them this coming year in 2022 we will be well on her way to the project. >> you have a good story to tell. that's great. thank you. senator capito. >> thank you and thank you all for being here. after the chairman has given me this time i have to go to an 11:00 meeting. i want to start with general murphy and a quiz murphy and acquisitive navigation routes from mississippi surges the inland waterway. what is the one in the middle? >> it's a ohio river. >> i was hoping you would say that. [laughter] i happen to live along the western border of my state. major general graham thank you. it's the second time we have gotten to work together and it's great. i'm going to say something that we talked about mitigation and how important that is in it's interesting to hear my
colleagues talk about the flash landed just sits and after the last flood in 2016 it was a very devastating as you know. what we hear from our local partners sometimes and even fema in some sense and i'm not laying blame here is sometimes the process to get help or so doggone complicated and so you've got an opportunity through the climate program that has five different aspects to it. i think we should streamline some of these. if i look at my cities and towns and counties that don't have flood disaster experts. they have somebody pass with that but they are also tasked with traffic or some other function because they are spread thin. you have that expertise and i think as much as you can streamline those processes and working with your local partners certainly in new orleans they
have a lot of experience with that but what we have found it was just chaos. i think we could have done better and recovered quicker had we had a little bit more handholding and a specific way to react to some of those. so i want to ask you if you'll put that on your radar screen. we have appropriated 5.7 billion in supplemental appropriations and i was wondering your process and timeline for extending funds and if you have any ideas on that and will you make sure that information regarding the funding when we make requests for information that comes in a timely fashion. >> ranking member capito in terms of transparency to respond to your request absolutely we are absolutely committed to being responsive on those. to the timeline on getting that
$5.71 billion that we just received at work for the american people people, we are working on right now where we are looking at investigation projects and the construction projects and looking at the same -- city river projects and the work that we have got. our goal is with any supplemental is to get that worked delivered as fast as we possibly can. >> what is the timeline on that? do you know? >> maam come i don't know. we will get that answered. >> okay thank you. general tickner we saw the video of hurricane ida flooding the subways in new york city and i think it was something we had never anticipated. what do you attribute that to? is there something again here that a predisaster could have better perform to bail to mitigate that?
the previous one that we did in response to katrina prevented a lot more damage with ida so what do you see in the northeast in terms of very unlikely places to see that? >> ranking member capito i appreciate that question and as an engineer we all watched what happened in new york city. we don't really have a project there to take care of that but what happened was a large amount of rain fell in a short period of time at record levels and their storm levee system the drain couldn't handle it. the roads turned into rivers and water went to the lowest point. there were a lot of -- in the basement and that stormwater. once you get out of your vehicle you are standing in water and power and water will take --
overtake anybody so regretfully in new york city at 18 deaths in new jersey had even more with 30 i believe. so talking to my counterparts at the state level from the pier flashflood putting in a project its initiation and letting people know what's out there and don't go into the water. regretfully some people lived in basements and hopefully that problem is being handled. >> i would say the bill that we passed the wastewater was incorporated in terms of trying to manage returned them modernize some of the systems. i don't know how old new york city storm system is that i would imagine it's in excess of 100 years. and then to try to manage that,
this is where i think if we wanted front and what we know to be, have fallacies on the backend we will be saving money, saving lives and saving property but we have to make these processes can meet -- support communities so they feel like they can work with you in work with other partners in fema or whoever to keep these projects up and running so thank you all very much and i appreciate your good hard work. thank you. >> senator capito thanks so much. i was trying to let you have some more time. i like to say different uniforms, same team. colonel murphy in terms of what
we have witnessed in new york with the subway and that sort of thing my sense is the climate change we are seeing in some cases we are seeing storms hunker down and sit on the area for a while and creates a lot of flooding. is that a fair characterization? >> mr. chair and i believe it is. and in that massive rainfall that we weren't expecting caught a lot of people by surprise. we saw the tragedies in western tennessee with some of the mountain flooding where we tragically lost some life this year and if you would ask somebody new york city if that could happen here i would guess that they probably said it couldn't but i think the education on this coming out is probably our best defense.
does anybody else want to comment? >> i will just mention beyond new york city. we started to build over the last 100 years in the flood planes. that is something i know our state partners are very concerned with a cause they don't want us to do just projects they like isn't it natural and nature-based features and nonstructural which could be moving people out of the floodplain that exist today. >> i want to put a human face on this. on the east coast we spawned some tornadoes on the other side of the bridge and it struck a family farm of katie. she's my community and director.
their family farm was destroyed houses, buildings and equipment. and that's the human face and there are a lot of other folks. all of this. hurricane ida was the first big test of the hurricane storm risk reduction center and by all accounts i didn't get a whole lot of names. that's very encouraging to hear. but this is only part of the picture and it doesn't function without communication and collaboration with the critical players. my question this would be for colonel, for you please. please tell us about the
differences between the response to hurricane katrina and rita and the response to hurricane ida and what were they lessons learned from previous storms that you put into use and responded to hurricane ida? >> thank you chairman. i would tell you this is the systems approach that the core would use. before katrina it was the hurricane protection system and it was a system in name only. it allowed water into the city via canal and was incrementally -- so a huge change to the corporate is a system which has application to what this committee is interested in and how do we get after coastal resilience and flooding in looking at things as a system. that's key lesson learned all the talents of technology the
court had we see today and that system. it allows decisions to be made that are not funding based but risk-based and you see that in what was performed during either. i'd say we have a willing single federal partner that did not exist between katrina and by the state i worked with the coastal protection and restoration agency and they worked with -- the communication is back in force and i have a single state sponsor responsible for working real estate issues that i worked with on all kinds of issues and third i would say the alternative environmental arrangement. there's no way we have the structures you need without having an alternative arrangement. we still met the environment of requirements but what congress allowed working with ceq after
katrina we move forward very quickly. >> you have 27 more minutes and we'll just put that in. turning next to general graham a question pertaining to climate change. you mentioned earlier the frequency and the duration of storms that have increased significantly and as climate continues to warm and in treason intensity and rainfall as we experience the impact of climate change in the way in which we approach risk reduction we must take these factors into account. my question is and i want to recognize the senator but does the core account for climate change in its design process for risk management projects? >> sir it does absolutely. a quick example where working on
highway one which goes to the florida keys to the southern tip of florida and we have formulated that project and design that project for the high sea level current >> one of the aspect of raising highway one the only road in and out so we have the authority to use the higher sea level curve and that's what we are using in this project. >> i would yield to senator kelly a man on a mission. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for all the witnesses today for being here. general graham this question is for you on emergency preparedness in arizona. you have spoken both in her testimony about the lessons that the army corps of engineers learned from hurricane katrina and how those lessons informed the course in response to hurricane ida and of course the goal of emergency preparedness
should be being ready to respond to any disaster the first time and with the change in climate affecting all aspects of the country differently preparing for the worst-case scenarios everywhere is more important. that's why it's pleased to see the los angeles district partnered with the arizona department of emergency military affairs in early september to host an emergency exercise to plan for a scenario where above average rainfall in arizona caused the poorest painted rock dam to fail and risk significant downstream flooding. so general can you describe the value of tabletop exercises like the one in arizona could provide the core is you prepare for the worst-case scenario and what value do exercises like these provide the core as you work to respond to the real word debt --
real-world images like those caused by hurricane ida? >> thank you for that question. we were all watching the monsoon season very closely and down in mexico and arizona closely. the exercises they did were key to making sure that partnership that colonel murphy spoke to work so well in the state of louisiana. we have built that connective tissue within our state partners in arizona. make a friend before you need a friend it's all about trust. the middle of a disaster if you haven't establish that trust beforehand you've got a hurricane or a storm so it's a wiki those exercises build trust. >> they are reminds me of not only the space shuttle simulator but at times we had a lot of
different scenarios that were often rather complex. in arizona right now as you know we have had the worst drought in art countries history in arizona's history predict that a subcommittee hearing on this specific issue later today to discuss what do we do here going forward to mitigate it and as we have, because of climate issues one of our worst wildfire seasons in the issue now after fire and the rains, flooding. we have been dealing with that so i appreciate you doing this. i've got another question about the core benefit cost ratio general. as you know the core makes most instruction and investigation investments on projects that benefit to cost ratio as a way
to value the project and what value that project will provide for the surrounding community including preventing a worst-case scenario during a disaster. i like many folks and many senators on this the committee support efforts to ensure that a project benefits that cost ratio but not just the monetary value of property damage but the risk and the health of those affected by potential -- so general when you look across the country do believe the core does a good job of prior testing investment and investigation projects which are most likely to prevent future disasters? >> senator thank you for that question. anything we do there's always room for improvement and the benefit that you spoke of we often evaluate a project with national and economic value benefits. worrier working to incorporate three of the benefits and those
original economic in a fit and the environmental benefits as well. those include the life health and safety that you just spoke to. we want to make sure we are including all of those when we design our specs. >> thank you general graham and thank you to all of you for being here today and i yield back. >> we appreciate it each one of those. you have a full plate this morning thanks for making time for us. senator kelly was talking about the climate change project and is the core account for climate change for management projects? i wanted to do a follow-up on that question for the rest of the panel if i could. how does the court that design processes with the rapid advances in science and our
increased understanding of the activities of these systems keeping in mind the increased intensity of climate related impacts into our future and would he like to take a shot at that and we welcome back to you general graham. >> chairman carper thank you for the question. we have lots of projects that we are studying and we do think the current science, the existing engineering that's out there is not changing because the science and the new data that's coming in with climate change is adjusting our project. you see that on the coastal projects that we have in delaware and new jersey and maryland with the systems that we have and also all our flood risk management projects as we look at the potential of water
that has to pass through safely past urban areas to expand. >> is anything you want to add to this? >> i would say down the mississippi valley division. we have the engineer research and development center which is the corps of engineers and we are working closely with them to get our lead for science technology and i can tell you on the lower mississippi river we are incorporating the best science and data. >> anything else you want to add? >> research and development aspects we know the world is changing and to make sure we are
on a solid foundation the science is absolutely critical. >> we have to be guided by science and not wanted by science. that is good. general another question for you about the urban areas. it's not like what was on the greater wilmington delaware area when the storm came through. you are in the north atlantic region which includes some of the most populated areas in our nation. by the time it made its way up the east coast of head weekend but impacted a region including my home state of delaware. could you describe for us the specific challenges of the core faces in flood response an urban environment and how we could overcome them in the future? >> thing -- chairman carper thank you for the question and
it's a shared response. we are working very closely with all the states definitely delaware and drove the states in the northeast. it's a combination of structural things the corps of engineers would come up with that moving things out of the floodplain allowing the water to expand into certain areas like parks or other environmental habitat. other educational tools will allow people to know what could happen in their area. river gauges installing more of them which goes to the early warning system. one of the successes i've heard from the states was they warned the citizens through the automated system because of the river gauges and it's a partnership and a shared
responsibility. >> general graham a different question. one that deals with environmental. there a lot of them around my state in the country. the recent supplemental bills that provide this significant increase in federal investments for critical infrastructure and the impact of the storms like ida were disproportionately affecting those who were not able to evacuate and timely manner especially in disadvantaged communities. rather than mitigating the damage from the storms it's imperative that we invest upfront to protect those communities that need the most help. my question would the kenny discuss how the core is helping these communities with future storms or natural disasters? >> chairman carper thank you for that question.
president biden is absolutely clear federal investments on environmental justice, one of the areas focused on in the northeast would be the back bay. we put coastal storm risk management systems and the systems you are familiar with on the coast facing the ocean. flooding also happens around the backspace and oftentimes the folks that live back there are not as well off and there is a great deal of environmental justice concerns so we are formulating a bunch of those projects and certainly those areas right now and those, some of them have party been in front of this committee and some of the larger ones will soon be there but i think that's one aspect of how we are getting at that. >> i have more questions to ask
but i need to get to the markup meeting so they are saving you from the damage that i might inflict. you have been very clear minded in your responses. i can look for not couple more questions for the record. before we adjourn at like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record before it materials including letters from stakeholders and other materials linked to today's hearing and that's a pretty easy thing to do. additionally senators will be allowed to submit questions for the record through the close of business on wednesday october 20 and we will send them to the witness and asked them to reply to us by wednesday.
in closing i want to thank witnesses for your testimony today. i really want to thank you for your service to our nation. i spent a few years in uniform myself and i have a huge respect for the work you do for our nation. i know so many fewer military work around-the-clock deals with americans who are suffering in the wake of these disasters. we are grateful for your work and we want to make sure you the resources you need to carry out your missions and work in the climate crisis. i don't have unanimous consent request do i? with that we are dismissed. thank you all so much. great to see you all.