- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Stanley County has sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the agency’s demands that the county give back money used on a project following record flooding on the Missouri River in 2011.

FEMA has demanded Stanley County pay back $145,000 for a box culvert that the county installed on War Creek after the flooding, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/2gy9X54 ) reported. The agency argues that the county exceeded the scope of work for the project and didn’t determine if the property had any historical significance before starting the project.

Jerry DeFelice, a FEMA spokesman in Denver, said the agency must seek repayment because the project did not comply with historical environmental requirements.

“This is a legal requirement that FEMA faces whenever we work a project,” he said.

The county’s lawsuit states that a FEMA field representative visited the site before work began and approved the project, including that the work met historic preservation standards.

“In reliance upon FEMA’s approval of the application submitted to it, the county proceeded with the construction project and incurred a substantial obligation,” the lawsuit says.

Stanley County filed the lawsuit after losing two administrative appeals with FEMA.

The project was completed in November of 2011 and was paid for in December of 2011. FEMA’s reimbursement payment to the county was approved in the spring of 2012, yet “Stanley County heard nothing further on this matter until late May, 2014,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also alleges that FEMA’s decision to de-obligate the funding was made by an environmental specialist who never visited the site.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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