Southwest Missouri Congressman Billy Long re-introduces safety legislation regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waterways

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:35 AM CDT
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TANEY COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Southwest Missouri Congressman Billy Long re-introduced legislation in the U.S. House regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, following three deaths near a low water crossing on Bull Creek in Taney County.

Three kayakers have died on the creek in the past two years near a low-water crossing. The families of all three filed wrongful death lawsuits against the owner and contractor. The lawsuits claim the crossing in place at the time was not properly built and created a powerful hydraulic, forcing victims under water. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigators found after those three deaths, the bridge was not in compliance with standards, even though the design was approved.

Congressman Long reintroduced legislation to prevent anything similar from happening again. His legislation requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study to determine the cost and manpower needed to inspect all of the projects the corps permits once completed. Currently, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers says it isn’t required to inspect every nationwide permit project, and it only inspects for issues like water quality and fish movement. Congressman Long wants them to also consider safety.

“Right now, they don’t have to take safety into consideration,” said Congressman Long. “That’s a key component to this bill that I’ve put forth is that we want to be able to take safety into consideration instead of just the habitat, wildlife and clean water. Everybody wants clean water, but we also want people to be able to enjoy that clean water and be able to go home that night.”

Crews removed the low-water crossing on Bull Creek last summer. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it completed its inspection and found the new bridge in compliance in December.

Long says his proposed legislation, H.R. 2095, will go to the transportation and infrastructure committee. He hopes to include it into a larger infrastructure bill.

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