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Flood farm land or flood a town full of poor people?

Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley: Flood Cairo, Illinois To Save Farmland
First Posted: 04-28-11 05:00 PM | Updated: 04-28-11 05:00 PM


A debate over how to stem possible flooding in Illinois and Missouri took an ugly turn this week, as a leading Missouri politician made some crass remarks about the fate of an Illinois town. (Scroll down for video of the controversial remarks.)

Due to high rains, waters at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are running dangerously high, and the mayor of Cairo, Illinois, located at the confluence, has asked residents to evacuate the town.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a plan to destroy a levee, which would lower the floodwaters by a few feet and help protect Cairo. But the state of Missouri has vigorously objected to the plan, because it would badly damage around 130,000 acres of farmland, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Missouri's Republican House Speaker Steve Tilley was asked by reporters about the dilemma. "Would you rather have Missouri farmland flooded or Cairo underwater?" Tilley is asked.

Without hesitation, he replies, "Cairo. I’ve been there. Trust me. Cairo.”

As another reporter prepares to ask another question, Tilley goes on. “Have you been to Cairo? OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”

Cairo, Illinois (pronounced KAY-roh) was at the turn of the 20th century a bustling trade center. The 2,800-person town is now largely abandoned, two-thirds African-American, and deeply impoverished: nearly 50 percent of children under the age of 18 in Cairo live below the poverty level.




Many criticized the Speaker for what they described as insensitivity in the remarks. The Capitol Fax, which posted the video of Tilley's remarks, also has a press release from Illinois State Senator Gary Forby:

During a time when people are being asked to evacuate their homes and leave behind their belongings, it absolutely blows my mind that that type of dialogue is being thrown around by the Missouri Speaker. Not only is it in poor taste, but it absolutely disgusting that Speaker Tilley would joke about putting the lives of Cairo residents at risk by choosing farmland over a community.
The St. Louis Beacon notes that the Speaker has since issued an apology:

"I was asked a question about blowing up a dam in Missouri and the negative consequences that happened to Missouri," Tilley said. "As the speaker of the House, (I believe) my first responsibility is to Missourians. And in my effort to defend them, I went on to say some pretty insensitive and inappropriate remarks about Cairo."

 

UPDATE..levee blown..

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-more-rain-in-mo-as-corps-considers-blasting-levee-20110502,0,7698555.story

Answer Question
 
sweet-a-kins

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 1:42 PM on Apr. 29, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (87)
  • What an ass!
    Nicoles2LilRams

    Answer by Nicoles2LilRams at 1:46 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • That one is extremely hard. Either flood several family's livelihood or flood several homes. You pick. Either way, the decision is hard as crap.
    twinsplus2more

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 1:46 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • That one is extremely hard


    LIVES over LAND...not so hard

    sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:47 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • But the representative was an ass in what he said.
    twinsplus2more

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 1:47 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • They would EVACUATE the town.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:48 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:49 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Cairo. I’ve been there. Trust me. Cairo.”

    As another reporter prepares to ask another question, Tilley goes on. “Have you been to Cairo? OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”


    Yea, they would evacuate (one would hope) and they would ALL lose their HOMES

    sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:50 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo (Reuters) – 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 flooding an Illinois town.


    U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. 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 would 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.

    sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:52 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:52 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Missouri plans to appeal the judge's decision. The approximately 200 state residents who would be in the path of the flood if the levee is detonated have already been evacuated.


    Cairo, an historic town of 2,800 people, is at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Both rivers have been rising to historic levels as a result of days of rain.


    Both neighboring states of Illinois and Kentucky had protested Missouri's suit. Kentucky has argued that more than $32 million in damage could be suffered in Fulton County alone if the water got too high and the Birds Point levee was not intentionally breached.


    James Wilson, the former mayor of Cairo and spokesman for current Mayor Judson Childs, said they are both "very pleased" with the judge's decision.

    sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:53 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

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