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New Corps Leader Confident of Levee Improvements

Brian Kelly
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(KMOX)-The new head of the Corps of Engineers’ St. Louis District says he is committed to helping the metro east upgrade its levees as quickly as possible and is confident it will get done in time to avert higher flood insurance rates.

Colonel Chris Hall tells KMOX that despite skepticism about the Corps’ ability to expedite the issuing of permits needed to begin the work, the pieces are in place to make it happen, “I’m new. As I walk into this I see in the positive column we’ve got strong partners. We’re already integrated with the team, so that’s a huge plus and sets us apart from some of the other permitting actions the Corps has seen nationwide.”

The Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council has approved a $151 million, 5-year plan to upgrade the levees to avert the FEMA imposed expansion of flood insurance requirements and higher premiums.

The council fears that the Corps’ permitting process will delay the project and add millions to its cost.

Hall understands the concern, but remains confident, “We at the district level understand very clearly what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s a matter of working through our regional and national-level headquarters.”

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