U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), U.S. Representative Bill Enyart and U.S. Representative John Shimkus called for members of a House-Senate Conference Committee to protect legislative language that will support the Metro East region’s effort to repair and recertify the levees that protect residents in southwest Illinois.
The Conference Committee – which includes U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) who both support the provisions – is tasked with working out the differences between the Senate passed Water Resources Development Act of 2013 and the House passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.
“Communities in the Metro East (Illinois communities surrounding St. Louis) have been working to improve their levee system since it was decertified by FEMA in 2007. The local residents have taxed themselves to raise money to make repairs to the system. These flood prevention projects have bipartisan, bicameral support in the Illinois Congressional Delegation,” the Illinois members wrote.
The Senate’s version of the bill (S.601) contains the following two important provisions related to flood prevention efforts in the Metro East region:
• A fix that would make the Metro East levee projects eligible for work-in-kind credits which will greatly assist local efforts to correct deficiencies to the levees and prevent flooding. Currently, work performed by the local non-Federal sponsor on the Metro East projects does not qualify for such in-kind credits because the law requires the projects to be authorized after 1986.
• A requirement to combine the Prairie DuPont, East St. Louis and Wood River levee projects into one project authority to allow the Army Corps of Engineers greater flexibility and efficiency in using federal funding to complete the projects.
Press Release, December 9, 2013