Congressman urges completion of levee project
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) - The congressman whose district includes the Missouri Bootheel region is urging President Barack Obama to support plans to complete a long-delayed levee project.
The Southeast Missourian reports that U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican, sent a letter to the president last week, a day after some environmentalists, local government and civic leaders asked Obama to halt the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.
Plans call for the Army Corps of Engineers to spend $165 million to close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system. The plan would protect part of southeast Missouri, but opponents say it would increase the flood risk in places like Cairo, Illinois, and destroy wildlife habitat.
Smith says southeast Missouri residents have waited 60 years for the floodway project.