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Missouri River floods spur lawsuit

Rob Chatt surveyed damage from the Missouri River flooding in Tekamah, Neb., Sept. 19, 2011.

Nati Harnik/AP

Rob Chatt surveyed damage from the Missouri River flooding in Tekamah, Neb., Sept. 19, 2011.

OMAHA — A group of farmers and business owners sued the US Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday, saying the agency’s decisions since 2006 have contributed to major flooding in five states.

The federal lawsuit said landowners should be compensated for the extensive damage they experienced — particularly during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.

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The lawsuit filed by more than 200 landowners said the Corps has deemphasized flood control while deciding how to manage Missouri River reservoirs as part of an effort to restore habitat for endangered species, and it claimed that has contributed to more flooding.

Outside experts who reviewed the 2011 flooding said the Corps did the best it could in dealing with record amounts of water that flowed into the 2,341-mile-long river after unusually heavy spring rains in Montana and North Dakota.

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