The House of Representatives late Wednesday night passed The Water Resources Development Act.
The measure also included an amendment offered by Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost to facilitate the repair of Len Small Levee in Alexander County.
The Murphysboro republican says under current law, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can only repair a non-federal levee if the flood protection benefits outweigh the costs. Speaking on the House floor as seen on C-SPAN, Bost says rural communities, like those served by the Len Small Levee, have a hard time meeting that standard.
"The levee breached in the winter floods of January 2016. Several thousand acres of infrastructure and agricultural land were destroyed when the levee gave way. The crop estimates and the cost of repairing the levee would be higher than the flood protection benefit, leaving local residents with no recourse."
Bost says his amendment allows local sponsors to pay the difference between the cost of repairing a levee and its projected flood protection benefits without additional investments from the government.
"My amendment does not increase the federal government's share of the cost of the repairs. This is a financial responsible way to give a lifeline to rural communities struggling to rebuild after a disaster."
The bill heads to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.