After raging waters devastated farms, homes and livelihoods along the Missouri River this summer, the Missouri Corn Growers Association is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately reallocate funds to rebuild damaged levees.
"Despite their ongoing claims that flood control is the No. 1 priority of the system, the corps continues to state money is not available for levee repair and isn't expected for some time," noted MCGA CEO Gary Marshall. "Meanwhile the corps has millions of dollars at their disposal for other river projects that further jeopardize flood control."
Although flood control was authorized as the sole purpose of the Missouri River Reservoir System in 1944, current operations of the system do not reflect this principle. Estimated at $85 million for fiscal year 2012, the corps' Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP) was designed specifically to return the modern-day river to a pre-Lewis and Clark condition with a large portion of those dollars to be used for governmental land acquisition. Dwarfing in comparison, funding for operation and maintenance, which encompasses levee repair, is only $6 million.
"There is a reason the river is not in the same state as when it was first being explored," Marshall said. "Modern technology allows us to maximize the use of the Missouri River for today's society by minimizing flooding and protecting the citizens whose livelihoods depend on it. Allocating millions of dollars to return the river to an uncontrollable state, while saying there are not sufficient funds for levee repairs is incomprehensible."
Though overall appropriation levels are determined by Congress, the corps has shown the ability to move these funds in past emergency situations if needed. According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the corps reprogrammed funds over 7,000 times and moved more than $2.1 billion between investigation and construction projects in fiscal years 2003 and 2004. Considering these past actions, MCGA urges the corps to immediately reallocate funds from MRRP and begin the repair process on the Missouri River.
"It is obvious we are in an emergency situation," Marshall concluded. "Nearly every levee north of Kansas City has been breached or overtopped and citizens continue to endure high water. These people are in critical need of further protection for the 2012 season. It is time the corps makes a decision to protect citizens and truly recognize flood control as their No. 1 priority."
The Missouri Corn Growers Association is a membership organization of farmers dedicated to growing and defending the corn industry. MCGA works in the best interest of farmers on key agricultural issues and fights for pro-agriculture, pro-corn legislation. To learn more about Missouri Corn, or to become a member, visit www.mocorn.org or call (800) 827-4181.Source: Missouri Corn Growers Association