Judge says southern Illinois levee can be blown up
By Miriam Moynihan
A federal judge on Friday ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can blow up a Mississippi River levee, which would flood Missouri farmland but prevent the flooding of an Illinois town.
NYTimes May 2nd update: Missouri has appealed to the US Supreme Court, while at this moment, explosives are being packed.
May 3rd update below. The levee was exploded and farmland flooded.
U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. [appointed by Bush in 2008 and related to Rush Limbaugh] ruled that the Corps had the right to breach the levee to prevent flooding in Cairo, Illinois, as permitted by a 1928 law.
The levee breach could flood 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, which contains about 90 homes. Missouri had filed suit to prevent the Corps from carrying out its plan.
Limbaugh wrote that he found that the Corps is committed to implementing the plan only as essential to provide protection to all citizens. He wrote “this Court finds that no aspect of the Corps’ response to these historic floods suggests arbitrary or capricious decision-making is occurring.”
The Corps plans to decide this weekend whether to blow up the Birds Point levee, depending on the level of water in the river. It will detonate explosives in the levee if the Cairo river reaches 61 feet. At 8 a.m. local time on Friday, it was at 59 feet and was forecast to rise to 60.5 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
Read more at Reuters