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Lt. Governor Simon returns to Southern Illinois flood region 

 
Area tour shows high waters, increasing damage

MARION – April 28, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon returned to flood-damaged Southern Illinois today with Governor Pat Quinn and state officials to survey damage and get an update on the state’s disaster response. After a briefing at the Unified Area Command Center in Marion, Simon was joined by Governor Quinn and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) in a helicopter tour of the most affected areas, including a stop in Olive Branch, where most residents have already evacuated while flood levels continue to rise.

“I will continue to be in touch with state, local and disaster relief officials as we work to provide aid to our most affected and vulnerable communities,” Simon said. “I would like to applaud the diligence and dedication of all the first responders, and encourage them to continue to persevere until all residents are out of harm’s way.”

The only constitutional officer from Southern Illinois, Simon commended the coordinated response efforts and voiced her support for a contested Army Corps of Engineers plan to breach the Birds Point levee and flood farmland in Missouri’s Mississippi County in an effort to ease rising waters and avoid life-threatening tragedy in and around Cairo.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to block the Birds Point breach. Madigan argued that any delay in the implementation of the Army Corps plan will immediately put the health and safety of the nearly 3,000 residents of Cairo at serious risk.

“Families are more sacred and valuable than farmland, and we will work to ensure that the best course of action is pursued by the Army Corps of Engineers and that state and federal agencies continue to bring relief to all who need it,” Simon said.