Senators admonish U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding flood control

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri state Senate committee considered a resolution Tuesday calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to again make flood control along the Missouri River a “priority” in the aftermath of the devastating flooding plaguing the Midwest in recent weeks.

The resolution, put forth by Sen. Dan Hegeman, specifically calls for the Corps to “focus on [its] mandated responsibility to protect public health and safety through flood control” and to “place the utmost priority on flood control in any future modifications to the Missouri River Master Manual and in its annual planning with the goal of allowing the Army Corps to be able to successfully react and respond to unpredictable weather and extreme weather events so as to prevent future flooding disasters.”

State Sen. Dan Hegeman

Additionally, the resolution contends the Army Corps “has neglected flood control as its top priority for too long, putting the citizens of Missouri at risk as evidenced by the recent flooding in the northwest part of the state.”

“You would hope [the Army Corps] would manage flood control, but they need some guidance on that,” Hegeman told The Missouri Times.

The resolution was presented before the Senate’s Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee Tuesday afternoon where it was positively received by fellow Republican Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a member of the committee.

“My district, along with yours, were very heavily impacted along the Missouri River with the recent flood,” Luetkemeyer said. “To me, it’s incomprehensible that you’d have the federal government prioritizing fish and wildlife over people and family farms and small business owners. This, while it’s just a message from the legislature, it’s a message that’s been received by our congressional delegation, and I’m hopeful we can finally get something changed.”

Hegeman praised Gov. Mike Parson, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, in particular, for pushing for more support in the areas impacted by the flooding, particularly on the federal level.

“To me, it’s incomprehensible that you’d have the federal government prioritizing fish and wildlife over people and family farms and small business owners.”

Earlier this month, Parson requested Congress aid Missouri in terms of expediting federal aid to the state. He also urged a U.S. Senate committee instruct the Army Corps to again manage the river that “clearly reflects the dominant congressionally authorized purposes of flood control and navigation.”

For Hegeman’s district, in particular, roads and bridges — federal and local — are in desperate need of repair or replacement as a result of the flooding, he said. Additionally, the natural disaster has been especially devastating for farmers in the area, including those who have lived on family farms for multiple generations. These people are left “considering potential lifestyle changes,” he said.

“They won’t be able to put crop in this year, and if we don’t get the levees repaired along the river, they won’t be able to safely put in crop next year,” Hegeman said. “It’s vitally important to the economy of northwest Missouri.”