Tue May 3, 2011
25 SE Missouri farmers sue over levee breach
Updated 1:23 p.m. May 3 with information about lawsuit:
Via the Associated Press:
A group of 25 southeast Missouri farmers is suing the federal government over its decision to blow a hole in a levee, causing their farmland and houses to flood.
Cape Girardeau attorney J. Michael Ponder filed the lawsuit Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detonated explosives on the Birds Point levee to ease pressure from the swelling Mississippi River.
The Southeast Missourian reports that the lawsuit claims that the government violated the farmers' rights by taking their land without adequate compensation. The lawsuit seeks class-action status.
Ponder, who is from Charleston, says he has had cousins who were wiped out by the levee breach.
The corps has said that flowage easements attached to the farmers' property deeds allowed them to breach the levee.
The police chief in the southern Illinois city of Cairo says he's seeing signs that an intentional levee breach in Missouri is easing some of his city's flood concerns.
The Army Corps of Engineers exploded part of a Mississippi River levee Monday night in southeastern Missouri, just downriver from Cairo.
Here's video footage of the explosion from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (explosion happens near 0:22 timestamp):
That was meant to give Cairo and some other cities relief from record flooding along the Ohio.
On Tuesday morning, Cairo Police Chief Gary Hankins says he sees evidence the move is working. The rising water that was overtaking U.S. 51 leading to a river bridge the previous day had retreated by at least a foot.
He says things are look better, but that the city remains evacuated and isn't out of the woods.