Four Missouri Congressman are proposing legislation that makes clear one message to the Army Corps of Engineers — stop putting wildlife before people.

Northwest area Congressman Sam Graves has introduced legislation that would make flood control the Corps of Engineers’ top priorty. Graves says he thinks there needs to be a shift in focus, and it needs to be put in writing.

Graves says the current Corps spending plan budgets $73 million the Missouri River Wildlife Recovery Program, but only $six million for the operation and maintentence of river levees.

The Corps management of the river’s spring rise each year has revolved around trying to boost the numbers of two birds and one fish that are threatened species — the piping plover, the least tern and the pallid sturgeon.

Graves says this year’s epic flooding should bring to the forefront the question of what the Corps’ purpose really is.

He wants to make it law, and has proposed a measure that says the Corps’ focus needs to be flood control.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Iowa Congressman Steve King, along with Missouri Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9), Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8) and Vicky Hartzler (MO-4).

Graves says the Corps needs to make sure its actions are focused on “protecting human life and property … not habitat creation and ecosystem restoration.”

“Our spending priorities are out of whack,” said Graves. “We are asking the Corps to do too many things and spend taxpayer money on items that have little or nothing to do with flood control. This bill would simplify their mission.”

Graves says the bill, H.R. 2993 will likely be referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.