Judge: Corps responsible for flooding, damage in 4 states

2 months 1 week 5 days ago Wednesday, March 14 2018 Mar 14, 2018 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:25:59 AM CDT March 14, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should act immediately to make flood control the top priority on the Missouri River, an attorney for hundreds of farmers, landowners and business operators said Wednesday after a federal judge ruled the agency was responsible for recurring flooding.

Judge Nancy B. Firestone's ruling Tuesday in Washington cited river management changes initiated by the Corps of Engineers starting in 2004, including efforts to aid endangered fish and birds, that led to damages estimated to exceed $300 million in four states: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. The Corps manages the Missouri River's system of dams and locks and decides when and how much water is released from reservoirs into the river.

In her 259-page ruling, Firestone wrote that flooding "was caused by and was the foreseeable result" of the Corps' management of the river. Another trial will start in October to determine how much money the lawsuit's 372 plaintiffs will receive.

It wasn't clear whether the U.S. government planned to appeal the ruling. Email messages left Wednesday with the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Justice were not immediately returned.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014, contended the Corps unconstitutionally deprived people of their land, essentially taking it without compensation. Firestone found in favor of the plaintiffs in five of the six years in which flooding was blamed on Corps management, disallowing flood claims in 2011.

R. Dan Boulware, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he will ask the judge to reconsider her decision disallowing the 2011 flood claims. Still, Boulware said the ruling makes it clear that the Missouri River is changed and is more prone to flooding.

"Now Congress needs to do something. They need to step in and say, 'We've got a problem here,'" Boulware said in a phone interview Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, agreed.

"I hope this decision is the first step in a new direction for the Corps," Blunt said in a statement. "I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the river is managed in a way that prioritizes flood control, while balancing other interests."

The lawsuit contended the Corps made a management shift in 2004 that downplayed flood control while emphasizing restoring ecosystem and habitat creation for threatened and endangered species. The court ruled that practices such as notching of dikes and reopening of chutes worsened the flood risk.

The lawsuit also cited the Corps' practice of releasing threatened and endangered species from reservoirs, even when river levels below the dams were high. And, it cited increasing reservoir storage as a factor in the recent floods.

The 63-day trial began in Kansas City, Missouri, before moving to Washington. It concluded in December.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - After a disappointing season capitalized by missing the postseason SEC Tournament it was hosting, Missouri softball will have... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 8:03:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA- The neighborhood of Ridgefield Road and Wood Hill Road are on high alert after a series of break in's... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 7:18:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Hundreds of cyclists were traveling from Columbia to Boonville for the 10th annual Pedaler's Jamboree. The event... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:59:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - In August 2017, Michael Stephenson moved into his new town home at Aspen Heights for the new school... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:43:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Open pools means play time for many people in Columbia but Parks and Recreation is still hard at... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:42:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Seven people die every day due to house fires. The American Red Cross is teaming up with... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:30:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
INDEPENDENCE - The 87-year-old Independence man reported missing Friday has been reported safe. The Missouri State Highway Patrol cancelled... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people withstood the heat Saturday to support the U.S. armed forces and honor veterans at the... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 3:02:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - For those heading to the lake Memorial Day weekend, Saturday morning is the first day of a... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The counting of votes was underway Saturday following Ireland's referendum to lift the... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 6:43:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - New Bloomfield has a new mayor, but it's the way he was selected that has a group... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 9:26:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The ACLU of Missouri is suing the Independence School District on behalf of a senior banned... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 6:35:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Thornbrook neighborhood was without water and electricity for almost two hours on Friday. Columbia Water and... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 5:36:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – Four vehicle crashes have occurred this week along State Road F west of Fulton in Callaway County.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 4:12:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After serving eight years in the United States Air Force, the passion of this veteran for sky travel... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In another day of political theater, the special House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens heard new testimony... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Organizers are expecting a large turnout for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans" airshow on Memorial Day weekend. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- When most people lose an animal, one of the first steps is to put a "missing" sign on a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:46:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
5am 71°
6am 71°
7am 72°
8am 75°