Congressmen John Shimkus (IL-15), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Bill Enyart (IL-12) joined forces on behalf of southwestern Illinois families and businesses to urge the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to approve a plan that ensures the Metro East levees stay accredited.
The Congressmen wrote a letter to IEPA Hearing Officer Dean Studer in support of the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council's (FPD Council) proposed repairs to the 74 mile levee system. Without IEPA's permit the levee system could lose accreditation, which would force southwestern Illinois families and businesses to pay higher insurance rates and would pose significant economic risks to the region.
The three Congressmen believe that FDP Council's proposal will not jeopardize water quality while protecting Southern Illinois homeowners and businesses and are submitting their comments regarding the Section 401 Water Quality Certification Hearing.
The letter reads:
Hearing Officer Studer:
As Members of Congress representing areas of Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties, we are well aware of the vital protection the St. Louis Metro East levees provide to our constituents.
The repairs proposed by the Southwest Illinois Flood Prevention District Council (FPD Council) will ensure the 74-mile levee system will remain accredited by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A deaccreditation will designate areas behind the levee as Special Flood Hazard Area, leading to higher insurance rates for individuals and businesses behind the levees and devastating the local economy.
After working closely with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the FPD Council has proposed a plan that will protect homes and businesses while keeping the importance of the region's water quality in mind. Evaluations conducted by the FPD Council's consultants in conjunction with the IEPA have shown the proposal will have little or no impact on water quality, leading to IEPA's tentative determination to issue Section 401 Water Quality Certifications.
We support the efforts of the FPD Council to ensure the safety of our constituents and the economic health of the St. Louis Metro East area and respectfully urge the IEPA to issue the three Section 401 Water Quality Certifications submitted by the FPD Council.
The letter was submitted electronically on January 31. IEPA is accepting comments until February 4 on its preliminary assessment that water quality would be attained.