County Board Member Helen Hawkins submits letter to editor

The Madison County Record Oct. 26, 2009, 1:29am

To the editor:

The article in the Record posted Friday, October 23, 2009, made it sound like I was saying that the reason Rep. Jerry Costello introduced H.R. 3415 was to help his son, who is developing the University Town Center STAR bonds project in Glen Carbon. I did not say that.

My concern with H.R. 3415 is that by freezing the old FEMA maps, which Congressman Costello's bill proposes, allows all development—not only the University Town Center, but additional warehouses at the Gateway Commerce Center and other projects as well—to continue, even though the Corps of Engineers and FEMA say that our levees can no longer protect us from a 100-year flood. The proposed new FEMA maps would restrict that development.

I am also concerned that by freezing the outdated FEMA maps, people living in the floodplain would be left unprotected without flood insurance. It would be far better to freeze flood insurance rates rather than the maps.

I have been fighting unwise development and the destructions of wetlands in the floodplain for the last 40 years. Increased development has brought more flooding and higher water levels on me, my neighbors, and the communities I represent on the County Board. I will continue to oppose all such development.

I apologize to Rep. Costello if he thought I was accusing him of introducing H.R. 3415 just to help his son. I understand he did it at the request of Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. I know all of us want permanent repairs to the levees to better protect our citizens.

Helen M. Hawkins
Madison County Board Member
District #16

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