Blunt and McCaskill Demand Meeting on Levee Dispute

Press Release

By:  Roy Blunt Claire McCaskill
Date: Feb. 4, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to make timely progress on resolving a gap in the Mississippi River levee, Missouri's Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill are working to bring all stakeholders together to find a solution.

The St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project would close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee, protecting homes, infrastructure and farmland from frequent flooding. Construction on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project was halted in 2007 due to technical problems with the project's Environmental Impact Statement. Progress restarting the project has been delayed due to disagreements between federal agencies.

"It's inexcusable that this critical project has been plagued by endless delays and bureaucratic indecision for more than three decades," said Blunt. "I look forward to this meeting, and I will continue to press the Obama Administration for answers so we can move this project forward as soon as possible."

"It's time for everybody to sit down, quit finding excuses, and identify a solution to a problem that's existed for decades," McCaskill said. "I know that we can find a commonsense compromise that, first and foremost, identifies a path forward to ensure Missourians living in the Bootheel are afforded the same level of flood protection provided others along the Mississippi River, while also protecting the land and water."

Responding to inexcusable delays on the part of several government agencies, Senators McCaskill and Blunt are scheduling a meeting between themselves, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

McCaskill had previously written to the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding that they reach a resolution in 30 days and present a new Environmental Impact Statement in 60 days, allowing the project to move forward. After they failed to provide an adequate response, McCaskill this week spoke with the regional administrator of the EPA to request this meeting.