U.S. Senator Presses Agencies for Information About Illinois Levees

March 1, 2010

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants a meeting with two federal agencies to seek information about efforts to certify five levee systems in three southwestern Illinois counties.

Durbin and other overseers of the levees in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties are worried that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may decertify the levees early next year, essentially making them functionally useless. That would require many property owners in the floodplain to buy often-expensive flood insurance.

The levees in question are: Chain of Rocks; Fish Lake; MESD; Prairie Du Pont; and Wood River.

Durbin wants to meet with top administrators with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to get information about any supposed structural problems with the levees.

Durbin says the Army Corps will hold public meetings with FEMA in coming months.

Previously, in response to a 2008 request from Durbin and Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL), FEMA agreed to prevent Illinois residents and businesses from facing significantly higher flood insurance premiums years before their Missouri counterparts.

This move leveled the playing field in the St. Louis region and ensured that FEMA’s new flood maps would not take effect on the Illinois side of the Mississippi before the Missouri side.

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