August 19, 2011
Flood control must be highest priority in managing Missouri River, Gov. Nixon and other Governors of states hit by flooding tell Secretary of the Army after historic summit
OMAHA, Neb. - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and the Governors of several other states impacted by the record flooding along the Missouri River this spring and summer today united to send a clear message to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: flood control must be the highest priority in operating the river's reservoirs.
Gov. Nixon was one of several Governors to take part in a meeting hosted by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman this morning in Omaha. The purpose of the summit was for the Governors to discuss their concerns and issues about the river with each other, as well as to receive a briefing from and ask questions of Brig. Gen. John McMahon, Commander of the Corps' Northwestern Division, which has responsibility for river management.
Other Governors attending the meeting include Gov. Sam Brownback, of Kansas; Gov. Jack Dalrymple, of North Dakota; and Gov. Dennis Daugaard, of South Dakota. The Lieutenant Governor of Iowa and a representative of the Wyoming Governor also were there.
"The state of Missouri's position is clear - flood control must be the number one priority of the Missouri River system," Gov. Nixon said. "While flooding along the river is not a new problem in Missouri, this year other states have also experienced the ravaging effects of flooding, giving them a new appreciation of the importance of flood control. This summit is historic as Governors all along the river address this challenge."
The Governors signed a letter to John McHugh, Secretary of the U.S. Army, who has responsibility under the law for the Army Corps of Engineers. The letter states, "There is clear consensus that flood control must be the highest priority in the operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System."
"Our point - and our resolve - on this matter are clear," Gov. Nixon said. "I appreciate the unprecedented cooperation that has taken place between the Governors in addressing this extremely serious situation, and I will continue my commitment to the people of Missouri to do everything possible to protect them from flooding."
In early June, Gov. Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to be the primary state agency leading flood-fighting efforts in Missouri. Since that time, hundreds of Citizen-Soldiers have been deployed in counties in northwestern, western and central Missouri to fill and position sandbags; secure homes and property; and coordinate efforts with local officials.