Farmers Join Lawsuit Seeking Damages for Flooding

Published 03/05 2014 06:54PM

Updated 03/05 2014 09:40PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Farmers are going after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for damages left behind after flooding.

A mass lawsuit announced Wednesday includes farmers, small businesses and other property owners in five states, including Missouri and Kansas. They want compensation for losses dating back to 2006.

"To sustain our farms, we cannot continually be flooded," said Roger Ideker, a northwest Missouri farmer.

Ideker has watched his property flood multiple times over the past decade. He says it's time something is done to stop it.

"It's changed the way they live. It's changed their hole attitude toward the river," he said.

Ideker has joined other landowners along the Missouri River in a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers.

"The Corps, very simply, is taking the river back to what it was years ago," said Dan Boulware.

Boulware, a partner at the Polsinelli law firm, is the plaintiffs' lead counsel in the case. He says changes in the Corps' river management policies back in 2004 played a role in severe flooding.

"They are reversing the management practices, the processes that were implemented for decades," said Boulware.

The complaint claims policy changes that conformed with environmental laws led to the Corps taking property without compensating the landowners.

"It threatens the vitality of the economy in the Midwest," added Boulware. "It certainly impacts the economy and the lives of people and citizens in this particular region and area."

Farmers say the action is necessary to stop the frequency and duration of flooding along the Missouri River.

"It's a way of life for people in these communities," said Ideker.

They hope the complaint, filed in federal court, will help things return to the way of life they once knew.

"Something has to give and we hope this lawsuit will cause that change," added Ideker.

The lawsuit also includes plaintiffs from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. They did not discuss a specific dollar amount for damages.

A spokesman with Corps said he could not comment on pending litigation.

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