Halt Plans for Proposed Hospital Complex on Yellowstone Floodplain

Target: Chairman of the Livingston City Commission Steve Caldwell

Goal: To compel the city of Livingston, Montana to build its new hospital complex on a location that is not an existing floodplain.

While the desire to bring a new hospital into creation for the benefit of Livingston, Montana residents is admirable, the city’s choice of location is far from it. As of right now, the city intends to place this hospital within a designated floodplain. Given that this building would be officially considered a critical facility, which is termed as a facility “essential to a community’s resiliency and sustainability,” it is foolhardy to even consider the possibility of placing it within a floodplain. The floodplain location of the building would not only yield a potential impact upon the building itself, but also severely hamstring local emergency responsiveness during a flood event. Circumventing a flooded hospital would only add to the logistical difficulties associated with natural disasters.

For the very reason that it is important that the region receive this hospital, it is vital that it be placed in a location that minimizes the potential harm that can befall it. While technically the region is deemed a 500-year floodplain (based around the notion of a 0.2% chance of a flood occurring), water crept perilously close to the location as recently as 1997 when floodwaters ended up channeled along the nearby highway.

Given that the evolving global climate is yielding far more extreme weather than ever before, it is simply too much of a risk to place this hospital in a potential floodplain, even one of limited likelihood. The desire to bring a brand new hospital facility to the region is admirable, but another location must be found to protect both the hospital and those it will serve–otherwise it may just find itself unable to function when needed the most.


Dear Chairman Caldwell,

The plans to create a brand new hospital facility in Livingston are not only admirable but necessary as the region is most assuredly in need of a hospital. That said, the proposed location for the new Livingston Hospital is poorly chosen at best, potentially disastrous at worst. As a critical facility the building must be given the maximum opportunity to operate at peak efficiency during any emergency, including most notably floods.

This is key because the current intent is to build the hospital in what is designated as a 500-year floodplain. An appearance of safety and security is given by the low odds associated with that designation, as it means there is only a 0.2% chance of flood-waters reaching out as far as the hospital’s proposed location. This still constitutes an unnecessary risk, however. One only need look as far back as 1997 to witness a time when flood-waters began channeling through the adjacent highway. With more extreme climate conditions rising on a global scale, the chances of greater flooding also rise.

Should sufficient flooding occur, it would severely impact the hospital’s capacity to respond to an emergency. This location puts lives at risk by grinding the functionality of the hospital to a halt when it is needed the most. This is wholly unacceptable, and another location must be found that is far less vulnerable to flooding and other natural calamities. The lives of Livingston residents could depend on this hospital’s ability to respond to a flood: protect them and build this hospital where it will be safe from any Yellowstone River floodwaters.


[Your Name Here]

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