LaHood, Bost offer bipartisan Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act

U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Mike Bost (R-IL) on Sept. 26 proposed bipartisan legislation that would address the federal regulatory challenges making levee maintenance and improvements difficult. 

“I am proud to join members of the Illinois delegation to introduce this important legislation to improve levee operations along the Upper Mississippi River and provide local levee districts greater flexibility to maintain their systems,” Rep. LaHood said.

“I am proud to support this legislation and will continue to do all I can to keep southern Illinoisans safe,” added Rep. Bost.

The lawmakers cosponsored the Upper Mississippi River Levee Safety Act, H.R. 5722, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) and fellow original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-IL).

If enacted, H.R. 5722 would give local levee districts along the Upper Mississippi River more flexibility to maintain their systems and allow them to better prepare for future floods, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“In central and northwestern Illinois, inland waterways are critical to the economic viability of our communities and allow small businesses, farmers and manufacturers to export commodities around the world,” said Rep. LaHood. 

Rep. Bost pointed out that farmers and families living along the river know how devastating floods can be to low-lying communities.

“Oftentimes, our levees are all that stand between our people and the dangerous effects of a natural disaster,” Rep. Bost said. “Investing in strengthening the levee system can truly be a matter of life and death.”

The legislation would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to update Upper Mississippi River levee and floodwall design standards, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“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 Rep. Sorensen.

The measure has garnered support from the Upper Mississippi, Illinois & Missouri Rivers Association, Corn Belt Ports, and the Illinois Farm Bureau.