Nebraska lawmakers have sent a nearly unanimous message to federal officials who control the flow of the Missouri River: focus on preventing floods above all else.
Lawmakers voted 43-1 on a resolution calling on Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make flood control their top priority.
The resolution is largely symbolic but is intended show that lawmakers view the issue as important. It was introduced by Sen. Julie Slama, of Peru, whose southeast Nebraska district was hit hard by last year’s Missouri River flood.
Slama has criticized the Corps, arguing that officials there haven’t responded aggressively enough to the disaster.
“Until the Corps of Engineers prioritizes flood control, makes investments to update levee standards and starts taking our concerns seriously … these towns along the Missouri River will continue to be flooded,” she said.
At issue is a dispute between downriver states that want the Corps to release dam water earlier to minimize the impact of floods and upriver states that want to retain their water longer because it provides a boost to their wildlife and tourism industries.
Sen. Ernie Chambers, the lone “no” vote on the resolution, said the measure was largely pointless because Nebraska has little influence nationally.
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