US Rep. Sorensen wants to help prevent damage from Mississippi River floods
The Democrat and three, Illinois GOP members of the U.S. House have introduced a bill called the Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act.
Sorensen says current Corps of Engineers policies are too restrictive, limiting levee operators’ ability to adequately adjust levee height when conditions warrant.
"I believe that localities, local emergency managers, the Rock Island District of the Army Corps make these decisions because these are going to be the best decisions for our community. Not something that's coming from Washington. Or, you know, we can't just play the reaction game. When we have a significant flood, we've got to protect ourselves from the next big one."
He says the goal of the levee safety act is to remove the red tape. "It's not just the Mississippi River. It's the Illinois River as well. This legislation that I'm introducing is bipartisan. So, we've got Congresswoman Mary Miller, Congressman Mike Bost from downstate Illinois, and Congressman Darin LaHood are three Republican members of the Illinois delegation. And they're all coming together."
Sorensen says the bill will give local levee districts more flexibility and make it easier for them to:
- Adjust levee heights
- Respond quickly to heavy rain and flood frequency profiles
The Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act would require the Corps of Engineers to update levee and floodwall design probabilities at least every 20 years.