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McCaskill Quizzes Army Corps Nominee on Missouri Flooding

Birds Point Levee repair and preventing future flooding among key issues discussed

February 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today questioned the nominee to lead the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about challenges facing Missouri communities damaged during flooding in 2011 and possible solutions to prevent future incidents.

McCaskill used a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to quiz Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick regarding last year's flooding and the Army Corps' intentional destruction of Birds Point Levee.  McCaskill, reiterating her opposition to the Army Corps' decision to breach the levee, asked for Bostick's commitment to rebuilding the levee to the original height of 62.5 feet.

"If confirmed you have my commitment that I will work with the Corps of Engineers and ensure that they work as quickly as possible, using the funds appropriated," Bostick stated.

"That's a great answer, except it wasn't the answer I was looking for," McCaskill fired back.  "I need to know from you and I need to know before my vote on you, whether or not you will make the commitment that what the Army Corps blew up they will put back to the way it was before they blew it up."

Video of today's hearing is available HERE.

McCaskill also pressed Bostick on the Army Corps' funding priorities as they related to flood control along the Missouri River.

"In the Missouri River Recovery Program budget right now there are five million dollars for flood management and north of seventy million dollars for habitat," McCaskill said. "That discrepancy in terms of the priorities of the Army Corps is like fingernails on a blackboard to most Missouri families-particularly those who live and have land along our great rivers," adding that she believed Missourians find that difference  "out of whack."

Bostick pledged to follow up on the Army Corps' various programs and to work with McCaskill on that specific funding disparity.

McCaskill also used the hearing to cite her work on the Missouri River Working Group-a bipartisan group she co-founded with Senator Roy Blunt to address flooding along the river basin.  Earlier this year, the Missouri River Working Group asked the Army Corps to apply lessons from that year's flooding as it prepares next year's operating plan for the Missouri River.  McCaskill and Blunt also asked the Government Accountability Office to further examine issues related to the flooding, including the role of the Army Corps.

If confirmed, Bostick will replace current Chief of Engineers, Lt. General Robert Van Antwerp, who is retiring.

 

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