The Army Corps of Engineers said its decision to breach the Birds Point levee along the Mississippi River in Missouri prevented damage worth more than $112 billion last year. Local officials and residents, however, said they are unsure the breach was necessary. An unexpected levee failure easily could have resulted in losses worth $1 billion, said Robert Anderson, a Corps of Engineers spokesman. "All along the system people were really at the point where the levees were about to be either overtopped or the pressure from the historic heights was just going to create a failure in an area that is not scheduled to fail," Anderson said.

Related Summaries