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Corps of Engineers doesn’t have “anything to hide” in reviews of Missouri River flooding


October 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Evaluations are underway into how the U-S Army Corps of Engineers handled the summer-long flooding of the Missouri River. The Corps has hired an independent panel to review its actions, Congress may launch a review and the governors of states in the river basin want a review, too. Brigadier General John McMahon, commander of the Corps’ Northwest Division, says many eyes will be surveying their actions. General McMahon says, “All of these assessments will come together and formulate the basis of what I’m calling a comprehensive restoration plan that will be a menu of things we could do and should do given time and resources of both near and long-term.”

The flooding started back in the spring and resulted in many tens of millions of dollars damage to homes, businesses, farmland, roads, bridges and more. McMahon says a host of local, state and federal agencies are setting reviews in motion. “There’s a lot of accountability that I guess will result from all of this,” he says. “We’re just going to keep our heads down and continue the mission until it’s all done.” The general is pledging to cooperate with all of the entities reviewing the Corps’ actions.

“We really don’t have anything to hide,” McMahon says. “This is all about being accountable and doing the best we can under these very trying and unprecedented conditions. We will play our role as dictated by whatever comes.” The Corps released record amounts of water from upstream dams and reservoirs on the Missouri after record rains and snowmelt in the Rockies. As for the money it’ll take to make repairs to levees along the Missouri River that were damaged by this summer’s flood, McMahon realizes there are many other natural disasters that are in line for federal funds.

“We have the event in the Mississippi, we have Hurricane Irene and the Joplin tornadoes, tornadoes in Alabama,” he says. “We have many natural disasters through the course of this year 2011 and there’s many demands on the system.” Still, McMahon says he does expect the Corps to receive all the funding needed to fully restore Missouri River levees. He notes, there is a lot of work to be done in a short period to time to insure the widespread flooding of this year doesn’t strike again in the spring.

(Radio Iowa)