Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost took to the U.S. House floor Tuesday to continue his fight for federal funding to repair the Len Small Levee in Alexander County.
Bost countered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' determination there was no navigational benefit to repairing the levee by presenting photographs of the flood damage and a U.S. Coast Guard warning that was issued for the region this past June.
"They urged ships to use extreme caution and report any navigational hazard. Ladies and gentlemen, there's a clear navigational benefit to fixing the Len Small Levee and there are huge navigational consequences to not taking action."
Bost is again urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to weigh navigational benefits when calculating whether or not a levee is worthy of repair.
The Murphysboro republican introduced a bill to that effect in July. He says that should help the Len Small Levee in Alexander County meet the threshold necessary to receive federal rehabilitation funds.
"Weeks, months or years from now, we will be right back in this situation again, when the flooded land and desperate people ask why their government didn't act sooner. I urge the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider how important this levee is to flood protection and navigation."
The Army Corps' efforts to maintain commercial navigation proved ineffective during the most recent floods. Several barges and tows were sucked inland at the Len Small breach site after the U.S Coast Guard issued a safety advisory to "use extreme caution, keep a sharp lookout, and report navigational hazards" in the stretch of the Mississippi River near the levee.
The Len Small Levee, located at Miller City, breached in the winter floods of 2015 and 2016.