Congressman Jason Smith (R-Missouri) said the flood control and levee systems along the Mississippi River are adequate. His district is in southeast Missouri, which includes some of the area hit by record-breaking flooding after Christmas.
“That goes to show of another conversation. We have to continue to invest in infrastructure,” said Smith. “We have to continue to make sure our levees are strong, they are at the right height and that the pumps are working correctly. Investment along our locks and dams and are levee systems are extremely important.”
Smith also said the Mississippi River flood plan might need changes.
“One of the most important is that there is adequate funding. If a levee breaches or if one would happen to be unfortunately ever activated, that the money is there to build it back immediately so that it’s protecting citizens immediately. Not taking like what it took in 2011 to build back Birds Point levee. It took months and months and months until it was actually rebuilt at the proper height,” said Smith.
In 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers blew up the levee at Birds Point to ease flooding at Cairo, Illinois and elsewhere in the region. As a result, about 130,000 acres of farmland and about 90 homes were flooded.
Governor Jay Nixon requested Saturday an emergency declaration and said federal assistance with debris removal would help ensure the area hit by record-breaking flooding can move forward.
In a matter of hours, President Barack Obama approved Nixon’s request.