Washington, D.C. -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that strengthens infrastructure at America’s ports, locks, dams and waterways.  Included in the Water Resources Development Act was a provision introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12) to help rebuild Alexander County’s Len Small Levee, which was breached during the holiday floods of 2016.  The final package is expected to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the president in the coming weeks.

“This vitally important legislation helps local communities, like those in Alexander County, recover from flood disasters,” said Bost. “Several thousand acres of infrastructure and agriculture land were destroyed when Len Small Levee gave way two years ago. Residents were left in bureaucratic limbo as federal agencies calculated whether fixing the levee was worth their while.  In the meantime, Southern Illinois families suffered.  This legislation gives a lifeline to rural communities struggling to rebuild after a disaster.”

“Mike Bost never lost sight of the plight faced by Alexander County farmers following the breach of the Len Small Levee,” said Kenton Thomas, a member of the Pulaski/Alexander County Farm Bureau and District 18 director of the Illinois Farm Bureau“His hard work will make it possible for us to repair the levee and help protect the livelihoods of local farming families.” 

Under current law, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can only repair a non-federal levee if the flood protection benefits outweigh the costs. The Bost Amendment allows local sponsors to pay the difference between the cost of repairing a levee and its projected flood protection benefits. The Bost Amendment is supported by the American Farm Bureau, National Waterways Conference, and the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA).