NTF ISSUE PAPER: PRESSURE THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO STOP FLOODING

NTF issue paper: cong173.doc. 2-20.
NEBRASKA TAXPAYERS FOR FREEDOM ISSUE PAPER:
PRESSURE THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO STOP FLOODING.

BACKGROUND
. Many Nebraska areas suffered catastrophic flooding in 2019 and again could suffer in 2020, farm land washed away, neighborhoods inundated, and businesses crippled or wiped out. The main villain in this unfortunate scenario is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under pressure from congressional liberals, who worry more about fish and bird habitat, the Corps has reneged on its primary purpose, flood control, and ignored its responsibilities under this objective. The horrible result has seen raging floodwaters flow from dams upstream, flooding the Missouri Valley, causing unparalleled flooding along NE rivers and creeks.

THE TRAGIC SITUATION
. Water still stands in NE farm fields. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland irreparably ruined. Farmers cannot plant or harvest their fields. Grain bins and barns flooded and ruined. Areas risk further flooding. In southeast NE, Peru State College has lost money because of flooding, students unable to travel to attend class. Water treatment plants flooded, forcing citizens and towns to use bottled water or use portable water plants. One NE city spent $300,000 to bring in water by truck without FEMA reimbursement. Millions in costs to construct new treatment plants. Homes permanently lost, beyond salvaging or repair. More people on welfare and receiving housing assistance. Retail sales and tourism have dropped in NE communities flooded. County roads and bridges washed out. The closure of bridges across the Missouri River turned travel that usually takes minutes into hours. Closure of I-29 and other highways dumped huge amounts of traffic onto alternate, narrower highways that clogged traffic and endangered local citizenry. Levy systems in SE NE much taken for granted over the years, despite more river crests during the last 25 years. Climatologists predict future crests and higher temperatures. NE has experienced increasing damage by flooding during the last few years (NE Dept. of Natural Resources). This flooding definitely caused by excessive river flows allowed by the Corps. A higher water table exacerbates the situation.

CORPS INACTION
. The Corps still has not made repairs on levies for which it is legally responsible. One levy built by the Corps at Peru, NE. failed but still damaged, its repairs delayed. Several guaranteed levies broke. The Corps claims it has only limited funds, and it demands heavy paperwork completion before helping. Homes and land in that area uninhabitable and unusable. The Corps wants the state to share costs in performing a 3-yr. study, but another study unneeded. New flooding will overflow damaged levies and cause additional havoc. The Missouri River is now shallower, because the Corps stopped channelization. Development along the Missouri River has increased, but standards established by the Corps for levee design, construction, and maintenance not updated in over 20 years.

THE RESOLUTION
. Conservative State Sen. Julie Slama introduced LR 288, to urge Congress and the United States Corps of Engineers to prioritize flood control as the top priority for the management of water systems under their authority in the Missouri River Mainstream Reservoir System Water Control Manual. The resolution states that the Corps should consider the impact of flooding on people, agricultural land, and economies and prioritize flood control over fish and wildlife under the authority of the federal Endangered Species Act when creating future Missouri River Mainstream Reservoir System Master Water Control Manuals and updating levee standards.

TAKE ACTION NOW
. Citizens must pressure our Capitol Hill delegation to require the Corps to make flood control its primary priority. Its manual currently concentrates on river navigation and wildlife like fish and nesting birds. Only 3-4 barges travel up and down the Missouri River annually because of unpredictable flows in the 9-12- foot depth. Congress has not requested the Corps to set priorities, so the Corps now considers flood control at the same level as recreational benefits. Congress and the President have the authority to require the Corps to set a flood control priority. Urge your Capitol Hill representative and 2 senators to create legislation to require the Corps to change its priorities. Also contact your state senator today to vote FOR LR 288, using the information given above. Email netaxpayers@gmail.com for senator contact information and to join our NTF Legislature Watch Project.

Research, documentation, and analysis for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 2-20. C

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