The $1 trillion spending package signed Dec. 23 funds the federal government through the 2012 elections and appropriates $1.7 billion dollars for disaster funds, with $388 million designated specifically for levee repairs. Original estimates by the Corps placed levee repairs at $253 million. Extended, record-breaking releases by the Corps from Gavins Point Dam severely damaged federal and private levees along the Missouri River, putting citizens at risk until repairs are made.
"The Corps has continually stated funding was a big factor holding up the levee repair process," says Missouri Corn CEO Gary Marshall. "With funding secured, it is time they step up and complete the job."
The Corps has also cited weather as a hindrance to completing repairs. "With this winter's unseasonably warm weather and little precipitation, the Corps has no reasonable excuse to not be working diligently to complete repairs before the 2012 flood season," states Marshall. "They are responsible for flood control and citizens along the river can't withstand another year without protection."
A devastating year for Missouri farmers, an estimated 400,000 acres of prime farmland along the Missouri River were inundated with flood waters for four months in 2011.
Farmers in southeast Missouri also faced destructive losses when the Corps blew up three levees at Birds Point, flooding 200 square miles of homes, fields and businesses along the Mississippi River."Farmers in southeast Missouri are still waiting for levees to be repaired, six months after the waters have receded," says Marshall. "The approval of this spending package includes funding to help with those repairs as well. We urge the Corps to waste no more time in reinstating those levees to the levels of protection before the blast."