A Metro East environmental advocacy group is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over access to information about the Southwestern Illinois levees and plans to repair them.
In the suit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the American Bottom Conservancy (ABC) said the Corps had repeatedly failed to respond to federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The suit is seeking an injunction from the court to compel the Corps to comply with the Act.
Illinois Congressional candidate Jason Plummer points to the uncertainty of the Metro East levee situation as a large cause of the area’s high unemployment rate.
The Republican candidate says federal regulators are getting in the way of bipartisan work by local officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency alleges the area should be deemed a “hazard zone.” If that happens, the value of houses would reportedly plummet. Plummer said the number one complaint he hears is the lack of certainty.
State and federal leaders are gathering in Columbia Saturday to talk about ways to prevent last year’s devastating floods that plagued northwest and southeastern Missouri.
Heavy snow and rainfall led to record releases from South Dakota dams along the Missouri River –and as a result 200,000 acres of farmland in northwest Missouri sat flooded for months, along with a significant stretch of Interstate 29 in Missouri and Iowa. Around 130,000 acres were flooded in the southeast part of the state when the Army Corps of Engineers blew a hole in the Birds Point Levee along the Mississippi River in order to protect the town of Cairo, Illinois.
Governor Jay Nixon says he remains committed to seeing levees along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers rebuilt. He told reporters during a press event at a Callaway County farm along the Missouri that farmlands damaged by both high water releases and levee demolition must be restored:
Governor Jay Nixon (D) and nearly half of Missouri’s congressional delegation are pledging to rebuild levees and pursue policies that will make massive water releases from dams unnecessary in the future.
U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert called the lawsuit moot Monday, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in court it had no plans to pull the accreditation of the region's levees as part of a levee-mapping effort.
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.