by Jane Jamison | July 11, 2011 8:00 am
Cross-Posted at UNCOVERAGE.net: 
Minot, ND: 4,000 homes damaged by 8-10 foot deep floods
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — “North Dakota’s flood recovery coordinator said damage is extensive with the majority of homes reporting damage in the Souris River flooding.
National Guard Maj. Gen. Murray Sagsveen said that of about 4,000 homes damaged in Minot and Ward County, nearly 2,400 of them are considered to have suffered extensive damage after being inundated by between 6 to 10 feet of water.
Just over 800 homes suffered complete damage, with more than 10 feet of water.
Sagsveen said about 800 homes suffered moderate damage, with 2 to 6 feet of water, and 132 homes were slightly flooded by a half foot to 2 feet.
Sagsveen warned residents that there will not be enough FEMA mitigation money available to buy all of the heavily damaged homes.”
Here’s another report from Bismarckman Mark Armstrong:
Sioux City [Iowa] Journal Sunday editorial in favor of widening the Missouri River.
FEMA is FUBAR
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – “Insurance agents in states along the swollen Missouri River say federal officials are causing widespread confusion by pushing the sale of flood insurance policies that might not cover damage from the current flooding.
The insurance companies say policies specify that only those bought at least two months before the damage happened will cover it. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency is telling landowners to buy the insurance anyway, and that some damage might be covered under the insurance program’s complicated rules.”
A Million Acres of Farmland Still Threatened
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – “Several hundred thousand acres of rich Midwestern farmland and even some urban areas near the Missouri River are at risk of flooding this summer during months of historically high water that experts fear will overwhelm some levees, especially older ones.
Engineers who have studied past floods say the earthen levees in rural areas are at greater risk.
“Most of the levees are agricultural levees. They’re not engineered. They’re just dirt piled up,” said David Rogers, an engineering professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
So far, most levees have held along the 811 miles the Missouri travels from the last dam at Gavins Point in South Dakota to its confluence with the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The flooding thus far has covered more than 560,000 acres of mostly rural land, including nearly 447,000 acres of farmland.”
In Montana, it’s Too Much Oil and Water
The torrential flooding in Montana caused an EXXON oil pipeline to rupture underneath the Yellowstone River, spilling at least 40,000 gallons of oil for an hour before the supply was turned off.
This is causing more questions about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alaska to Oklahoma.
“If there were any more red flags we’d be at a Husker game,” said Jane Kleeb of BOLD Nebraska. “If we think that spill is bad, just wait for one on the Keystone XL – it will be three times worse.”
But a spokesman for TransCanada, the firm planning the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, said the company’s engineering efforts at major river crossings should mitigate the chances of a flood scouring down to a pipeline and allowing a leak to develop.
Terry Cunha of TransCanada’s Calgary headquarters said that the pipeline will be horizontally drilled 25 feet below the riverbed of the Niobrara, Platte, Loup and Cedar Rivers in Nebraska, much lower than the 5- to 8-foot depth of the Exxon Mobil pipeline that ruptured in Montana.
The Yellowstone River spill comes as the U.S. State Department is in the final stages of its environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will cross Nebraska’s fragile and groundwater-rich Sand Hills en route to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The spill also comes as opponents of the project are planning to release, on Monday, a new analysis of the “worst-case” spills possible in Nebraska. The study, done by University of Nebraska-Lincoln environmental engineer John Stansbury, purports to show flaws in TransCanada’s projection of the worst-possible spills in Nebraska.”
“I think that Montana had in the past not really been too concerned about the Keystone XL pipeline, and I think [the Exxon spill] is really going to change that,” Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council told CanadaBusiness.com.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told the U.S. State Department that environmental review of the Keystone XL project has so far been inadequate to approve the project.
“Pipeline oil spills are a very real concern,” wrote Cynthia Giles, EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, according to the Huffington Post. Giles pointed to recent spills in Michigan and Illinois, and the first phase of the Keystone pipeline has seen 12 spills already in its first year.”
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