State senator: Missouri shouldn't pay for Birds Point-New Madrid floodway cleanup

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 ~ Updated 5:30 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A state senator says the state should not be responsible for any costs incurred in the Southeast Missouri flood zone.

Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created a disaster when they made the decision to flood thousands of acres in Southeast Missouri by destroying a portion of the Birds Point Levee in May. At the time, the corps said the destruction of the levee was necessary to reduce flooding in Cairo, Ill., and other towns in the area.

During a hearing of a Senate subcommittee looking into the cost to the state from the springs tornadoes and floods, Andreas Spillars, deputy director of the State Emergency Management Agency, said SEMA was pressing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for more than 75 percent of the damages in the Bootheel flood zone.

Lembke said the Corps of Engineers caused the flood, and the federal government should have to pay. "(The flood) happened because they blew up the levee. Alright? I don't believe the state should be on the hook for one cent of that."

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