WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Eric Sorensen (IL-17), alongside Congresswoman Mary Miller (IL-15), Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12), and Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-16), introduced the bipartisan Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act, legislation to improve flood protection and prevent disasters along the Mississippi River.
“I’m proud to work across the aisle to advance this bill that protects our region from the impacts of flooding along the Mississippi, supports our agriculture industry, and helps keep people safe,” said Sorensen. “As the only meteorologist serving in Congress, I know how devastating the impacts of extreme weather can be to families, neighborhoods, and property.”
“This bill is a critical step to ensure that levee operators have the tools and flexibility they need to do essential maintenance along the Mississippi River,” Miller said. “The Mississippi levees protect countless homes and thousands of acres of farmland, and I’m proud to lead the effort in the House to protect Illinois communities from future flood threats. I am pleased to be joined on this bill by several of my colleagues from the Illinois Delegation. We look forward to working with Chairman Sam Graves and my colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on this important issue, especially as the House begins work on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) next year.”
This legislation will give local levee districts along the Upper Mississippi River more flexibility to maintain their systems and allow them to better prepare for future floods. Currently, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) policies restrict operators’ ability to adequately adjust levee height along the Mississippi River, making it difficult to respond to changes in rainfall conditions or flood frequency profiles.
Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act resolves this by modifying language to more closely reflect Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy, making it easier for districts to respond to changes in the weather and prevent future flooding disasters. The Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act is supported by the Upper Mississippi, Illinois & Missouri Rivers Association, Corn Belt Ports, and the Illinois Farm Bureau.