WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) took to the House floor today to continue his fight for federal funding to repair the Len Small Levee in Alexander County. Bost countered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that there was no navigational benefit to repairing the levee by presenting photographs of the flood damage and a U.S. Coast Guard warning that was issued for the region earlier this summer.
“When there’s a multi-ton barge stranded on dry farm land, common sense and a good set of eyes will tell you that the Len Small Levee has a big impact on commercial navigation,” said Bost. “If we don’t repair the levee now, we will continue to deal with the ebb and flow of flood disasters for years to come. That’s why my fight for federal funding will continue until we get this problem fixed and provide local families and farmers with the peace of mind they deserve.”
The Len Small Levee, located along the Mississippi River at Miller City, breached in the winter floods of 2015 and 2016. However, it did not qualify for rehabilitation because it did not present a positive benefit-cost ratio according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flood protection criteria.
Since the breach, the Army Corps spent substantial sums at the site for the purpose of maintaining commercial navigation, but these measures proved ineffective during the most recent floods. Several barges and tows were sucked inland at the Len Small breach site after the U.S Coast Guard issued a safety advisory to “use extreme caution, keep a sharp lookout, and report navigational hazards” in the stretch of the Mississippi near the Len Small Levee.
In July, Rep. Bost introduced the Levee Rehabilitation Improvements Act, which would require the Army Corps to weigh navigational benefits, in addition to flood protection, when determining whether a levee is worthy of repair.
Click below for Rep. Bost’s floor speech:
Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12) calls upon the Army Corps to fix the Len Small Levee