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Congressman Loebsack tries again to establish national flood center

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack is trying for a second time to rally support in Washington, D.C. for a bill to establish a national research center to study floods. In 2011, the National Flood Research and Education Act never made it out of committee.

Loebsack, a Democrat, says flooding is becoming a more frequent concern across the country — so he’s expanded the bill in hopes of drawing bipartisan support.

“It happens everywhere, to one extent or another. It’s not just here, or on the coast with hurricanes. All states have to worry about this at one point or another,” Loebsack said. The bill proposes a National Flood Center, which would partner academic institutions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study watersheds.

Loebsack spoke about the proposed $10-million project today at the University of Iowa’s boathouse along the Iowa River. He was joined by the Iowa Flood Center’s Witold Krajewski, who said a national center would allow researchers to address different regional, flood-related problems in ways that federal agencies sometimes cannot.

“The responsibilities for flood related problems span many agencies, so how do you bring them together? So now, if you have an academically led center, you are much more agile,” Krajewski said. Loebsack’s bill has four cosponsors, including Representatives Robert Andrews and Steve Israel, whose districts were heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy last year.

The Iowa Flood Center was established after the 2008 floods which devastated much of eastern Iowa, including the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.