A ruling in a federal court case finds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for damages from repeated Missouri River flooding. The class-action case was filed on behalf of 372 farmers, landowners and business owners in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
Tuesday’s ruling from a Washington D.C. judge says Corps practices of water storage, release and flow management brought flooding in five years over the past decade. The suit contended the Corps deprived the plaintiffs of their land and essentially took it without compensation.
Lead plaintiff Roger Ideker of northwest Missouri says the river has changed.
“The changes, we feel, were as a result of management of the river. The changes that the Corps has made to the river has caused this recurrent flooding,” he says.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst is grateful for the decision but expects appeals.
“The $300 million judgement is a pretty big 2×4 upside the head to tell the Corps to start worrying about flood control,” Hurst says. “I think it has to have a positive effect.”
Damages could exceed $300 million.
Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa and Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News contributed to this story