Metro East

St. Louis Public Radio

The Southwestern Flood Prevention District Council says too much is at stake for any more delays in fixing levees in Metro East. 

Les Sterman, the project's supervisor for the Council says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has so far taken too long in approving plans to work on the levees.

He said their latest plan approval was six months late.

“Essentially we're doing our part," Sterman said. "All we're asking is for the federal agency to do its part in helping us get this project moving.”

(Ill. General Assembly website)

Democrat Jay Hoffman has changed his mind about running for Congress and now plans to seek a seat in the
Illinois House.

Democratic Party officials on Thursday endorsed Huffman's run for the seat held until recently by Tom Holbrook. Holbrook announced plans to step down from the Illinois House after Gov. Pat Quinn picked him to head the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

A month ago, Hoffman had said he'd run for Congress in the newly drawn 13th District.

(Photo courtesy of Illinois EPA)

Demolition of the former Chemetco copper smelter took another step forward on Tuesday. The demolition is the start of a long clean-up process for the hazardous Metro East eyesore.

The Illinois EPA is overseeing the dismantling of the smelter buildings, which began last year.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit three southwestern Illinois counties filed to block the U.S. government from declaring the region's levees functionally useless.

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.

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says a Metro East port project is getting more money.

Durbin announced the $8.5 million from the Department of Transportation. The money is to help build a transportation hub that Durbin says can help reduce congestion on the Mississippi River.

Durbin's office says the project got $6 million last year. The project includes a harbor, rail lines and a rail and truck facility in Madison County, Ill.

The Illinois Democrat says the facility can help the Metro East's economic competitiveness.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The people who oversee 64 miles of aging Mississippi River levees in southwestern Illinois have signed off on a $151 million plan to upgrade the barriers perhaps by 2014.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council adopted the proposal Wednesday involving levees in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties.

Officials expect the upgrades to be funded largely by a quarter-cent sales tax.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A yearly effort by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to clean up discarded tires is underway in the Metro East.

Front loaders were hard at work at a city-owned lot in East St. Louis Wednesday afternoon dropping tires into tractor trailers. The contractors, which will haul away the old tires to be reused, are funded with a fee that customers pay on new tires.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving a reprieve to southwestern Illinois and other U.S. areas guarded by levees it was to have deemed functionally useless.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told federal lawmakers Thursday that the agency would hold off on decertifying 64 miles of earthen levees protecting St. Louis' Illinois suburbs.

Fugate says the agency would stop using a questioned assessment technique and turn to a more nuanced measure of the actual protection the levees provide.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee.

Last week senators from Missouri, Illinois and 16 other states sent a letter to Administrator Fugate.

The Illinois EPA is helping the Metro East village of Washington Park clean up an illegal dumping site this week.

The area an estimated 100 tons of trash, and the clean-up is expected to take three to five days.