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St. Charles County Preps for Plan H

Officials seek to prevent plan that would flood developed areas in St. Charles, Pike and Lincoln counties.

St. Charles County is prepared to fight Plan H.

The County Council voted 6-0 Monday to appoint Councilmen Jerry Daugherty, D-District 6 of Portage de Sioux, and Joe Cronin, R-District 1 of St. Paul, to work with Pike and Lincoln counties to plan for regional flood control.

Daugherty said their primary goal will be to prevent Congress from approving Plan H, a $6 billion flood plan for the Mississippi River advocated by the federal Mississippi River Commission.

The plan would raise levees in Illinois and north of St. Charles, Pike and Lincoln counties to the 500-year flood level.

Opponents say the plan would cause unprecedented flooding in developed areas in those counties.

“If we stop Plan H, we’ll save (the federal government) $6 billion,” said County Executive Steve Ehlmann.

Cronin noted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the plan would have just 5 cents benefit for every dollar spent. Although the Corps formulated the plan, it does not endorse it.

“We all know that the federal government doesn’t have $6 billion, but they could approve the plan without funding it,” Daugherty said.

That would allow levee districts in Illinois to raise their levees to the 500-year level with funding they already receive from the government, he said.

“The Sny Levee District in Illinois is the richest levee district in the world,” Daugherty said.

That scenario could happen. Congressional leaders could look at it as a political favor that costs nothing, he said.

That leads to the three counties’ second goal.

Daugherty said levee districts on the Lower Mississippi River receive about $300 million a year in funding while the Uppier Mississippi River districts receive about $18 to $20 million.

“It goes back 150 years back to when the southern states all grew cotton and had this enormous economic and political influence,” Daugherty said.

“We’d like to see that be divided up a little more evenly,” he said. They’re not asking for more money, just that the money given to the districts be allocated fairly.

Already, state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, has drafted a resolution against Plan H, and the Missouri congressional delegation opposes the plan, Daugherty said.

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