Sunday, May 1, 2011

Decision Time

This isn't exactly The Loop vs. The Lou, but it is Missouri vs. Illinois. And not on the basketball court.

In downstate Illinois, you have Cairo, IL. Wedged in between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, this town of 3,000 is the southernmost town in Illinois. And now it is being threatened by rising water levels. In 1937 it was the Ohio. This time it's the Mississippi. The solution that the army corps of engineers has come up with is to blow-up a levee and flood over 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland (and 100 homes). This blogs respective newspapers are on top of the story. Chicago Tribune explains the situation here. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch here. Please keep in mind that these links may change as the story develops.

If the state borders didn't go by rivers there is no way Cairo would be in Illinois. Judging from Google Maps, the distance from the Mississippi and Ohio at Cairo is less than 2 miles and appears to be narrower to the north of it. This little piece of land could easily be Kentucky or Missouri. And if it were Missouri, the Supreme Court might not have to step in.

So what's the right move here? Save a 3,000 person town which has been evacuated? Or blow up a levee and destroy 130,000 acres of farmland but only 100 homes? Should Missouri land suffer to save an Illinois town?