Morning headlines: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Study: Corps made the right choice in breaching Birds Point
A new study says the Army Corps of Engineers made the right choice when it blew up a southeast Missouri levee last year.
Study co-author Ken Olson, a professor of soil sciences at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urban,a says river levels continued to rise even after the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway was breached by explosives to relieve flooding pressure on Cairo, Ill.
He says the Mississippi River would have inundated the floodway even without the manmade breach. The river peaked at 61.72 feet – more than a foot above the Birds Point Levee. Olson says without the breech Cairo would have been inundated by 22 feet of water.
“It started off as a choice between prime farmland in Missouri and lowering the pressures on an urban levee system,” he said. “However, the forecasted peak was wrong. It was too low. And in fact, the floodwater was going to go over the top of the fuse plug. We ended up choosing flooding the farmland AND the city, or just flooding the farmland.”
In another study, also published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Olson found that agricultural production in the floodway will be compromised for years to come.
(Reporting by KRCU's Jacob McCleland was used in this story)
State House tries to strike right balance in photo ID ballot language
The Missouri House is trying again to get the language right for a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls.
Lawmakers approved the amendment last year, including a summary that would go on the statewide bballot in November. A judge struck down the language because it referred to the proposed amendment as the "Voter Protection Act" - a phrase that appears nowhere in the measure itself.
The new summary, approved by a wide margin, eliminates that phrase. But some state representatives have questioned whether the Legislature can use a resolution to chance the language of a measure that was approved in a different session.
Koster to appeal payday loan ruling
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster will appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down language for a ballot initiative that seeks to limit payday loans.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled last week that the ballot summary prepared by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was "insufficient, unfair and likely to deceive voters" because the language talked about limiting interest rates without stating the specific limit.
Carnahan’s office says the original language is fair and accurate.