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January 17, 2013

Thompson on Nation's Deficient Levee System

(WASHINGTON) - Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement following a news report released today that many of the country's levees are at risk of failing and endangering lives. The Associated Press (AP) found that the US Army Corps of Engineers, as of January 10, have graded 1451 of the country's 2487 levees in 37 states. AP found that 326 were found to be unacceptable, 1004 were minimally acceptable with deficiencies, and only 121 were deemed to be in acceptable condition. The country's levee system also received a D minus grade in a 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers report.

Over seven years after Katrina, I am appalled by the magnitude of levee deficiencies discovered across the country. 'Mega-storms' have been recurrent events in recent years and the country must be prepared. Congress requested this review from the Army Corps of Engineers and now the Congress must take action to establish a program that allows state and local governments to begin making these repairs to our critical infrastructure.

Recent storms have showed us that we must take whatever steps necessary to mitigate potential cost and destruction from future disasters and prevent even greater spending in the future. Hurricane Katrina alone cost the nation $108 billion - with much of the cost going to repair damage caused by a weakened and damaged levee system that collapsed when it was most needed. We cannot allow history to be repeated and we cannot allow the deterioration of this country's infrastructure to go unabated. Failure to act would not only be penny-wise and pound foolish but needlessly endangers lives and property.

Link to News Story

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