October 24, 2012
Lawmakers, University Applaud DHS Decision to Move University of Iowa Recovery Forward
Washington, D.C. – Iowa lawmakers released the following statements after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its decision in the dispute between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Office of the Inspector General. DHS announced today that it will not object to FEMA’s decision to replace the University of Iowa’s Hancher – Voxman – Clapp (HVC) and Art Building East (ABE) facilities, rather than taking back funds already approved as recommend by OIG.
“This is an important decision both for the University of Iowa and for the surrounding community,” said Senator Harkin. “The delegation worked hard to resolve this issue and with today’s announcement, we are pleased that the University can move ahead to build these new facilities outside of the flood plain, as designated. It was simply not logical to spend large sums repairing buildings in the flood plain that will be flooded in the future. Going forward, I intend to work to change the underlying law so that FEMA decisions become final more quickly, assuring that this period of long uncertainty does not happen in the future.”
"This is a very good outcome, and it's a tribute to the strong case made by university and other state officials in Iowa,” said Senator Grassley. “It's important that these replacement projects get underway so that the recovery from 2008's floods can continue."
"It is great news that the Department of Homeland Security agreed with me that the University should not be penalized for a dispute between FEMA and the Office of the Inspector General, and I was happy to lead the charge in ensuring a positive outcome for the University,” said Congressman Loebsack. “This is a great day for the University of Iowa, eastern Iowa, and the many students who will soon be able to again study in these buildings. I am pleased that after months of uncertainty, the University of Iowa is able to move forward with the rebuilding of the Hancher – Voxman - Clapp music buildings and and Art Building East. The University of Iowa is now able to move forward with their recovery from the flood and will be stronger and more resilient going into the future. I am pleased that I was able to work with Senators Grassley and Harkin, Governor Branstad, and the University to advocate for this favorable decision."
“The students, faculty and staff of the University of Iowa are grateful for the strong and continuous support of our congressional delegation, the Governor, State Legislature and the Board of Regents,” said University of Iowa President Sally Mason. “This final action on our replacement buildings clears the way for construction – and we are ready. Our students and campus can now move forward with certainty that they will have the facilities they need.”