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Blunt, McCaskill Call For Meeting On Levee Gap In Bootheel

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Missouri’s two U.S. Senators are calling for a stakeholder meeting to discuss how to close a 1,500 foot gap in a Mississippi River levee located in the southeastern part of the state.   

In a joint statement released today, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt say a host of government agencies have failed to make adequate progress closing the gap.

Construction on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project stalled out in 2007 because of technical problems related to its Environmental Impact Statement.

The senators say in the years since the work stoppage, disagreements between federal agencies has prevented restarting the project.

“It’s time for everybody to sit down, quit finding excuses, and identify a solution to a problem that’s existed for decades,” McCaskill says in the statement. “I know that we can find a commonsense compromise that, first and foremost, identifies a path forward to ensure Missourians living in the Bootheel are afforded the same level of flood protection provided others along the Mississippi River, while also protecting the land and water.”

McCaskill says she has reached out to the EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding a resolution over the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, but has yet to receive an adequate response.

Blunt says the project has been tied up in red tape for more than thirty years.  

“It’s inexcusable that this critical project has been plagued by endless delays and bureaucratic indecision for more than three decades,” Blunt says in the statement. “I look forward to this meeting, and I will continue to press the Obama Administration for answers so we can move this project forward as soon as possible.”

Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd

Tim Lloyd was a founding host of We Live Here from 2015 to 2018 and was the Senior Producer of On Demand and Content Partnerships until Spring of 2020.