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Old 06-30-2011, 09:38 AM   #2687
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Odd Letter From Corps Upsets Property Owners
Some Say Corps Flooded Land To Drive Down Prices

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some river bottom property owners say they received a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers' Kansas City district office asking them if they want to sell their land.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the letter is angering some of the people who received it because some of them are fighting for their land from a flood they believe the Corps caused.

The letter reads: "The Corps is currently seeking willing sellers." It is part of a 15-year-old corps plan to buy up river property or obtain easements.

The Corps wants the property to enhance wildlife areas for species like the pallid sturgeon -- an endangered fish the corps considers when managing the river.

But to some critics of the corps, it proves their suspicions.

"And this just further proves the Corps is going after property just they can save some endangered species," said Bruce Biermann, who received the letter from the Corps.

"We clearly understand this may appear insensitive to some folks who are fighting the flood. It should not have gone out at this time, but it did," said Jud Kneuvean of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Kneuvean said this may be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. But Mahoney reported that some people believe the Corps deliberately released massive amounts of water in hopes of driving down the sales price on flooded ground.

"We'd never tie the two together. This has nothing to do with the Missouri River ecosystem," Kneuvean said.

The letter states this is part of a 1986 law that is aimed at replacing wildlife habitats that have been lost to things like construction, maintenance and operation of the river system.

The Corps is already catching lots of heat for the flooding, which it acknowledges is the result of its decision to release upstream water.

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