An environmental group wants a federal judge to compel the US Army Corps of Engineers to explain what issues the governmental agency has with southwestern Illinois' Mississippi River levees.
The lawsuit on the American Bottom Conservancy's behalf alleges the Army Corps failed to reply to the group's open-records requests about what the Corps says are deficiencies in the levees. The suit contends the Army Corps questions whether levees can handle a flood so big it has only a 1 percent chance of happening any year.
The distinction is important because it's the Federal Emergency Management Agency's threshold for classifying an area high-risk or not. Levee officials say a high-risk designation could saddle property owners with higher, unaffordable insurance rates.
An Army Corps spokesman declined to discuss the matter.
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