Army Corps Officer Faces Difficult Choice on Levee
SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) - The decision about whether to blow a hole in a levee and flood the valuable farmland it protects falls to a straight-talking Army officer who helped oversee restoration efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh will make a call as soon as Monday about the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri. Doing so will drown 130,000 acres of land and destroy 100 homes. Opting not to risks that flooding will wipe away the entire town of Cairo, Ill.
While waters and emotions rise, Walsh has maintained a business-like demeanor. He's met with people on both sides of the river, some of them angry or upset. He says he understands a lot of
people's lives will be affected and it's not a decision he's taking lightly.
Nixon said Monday no one is happy about the situation but officials are facing a record amount of water.
The governor calls the Missouri farmland protected by the levee some of the most fertile in North America. If the levee is breached, Nixon says that state government will take a leadership role in helping the region recover.