Great Falls Tribune: Cabinet member inspects levees

Escorted by the U.S. Secret Service and Montana’s two U.S. senators, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assured concerned residents in Great Falls on Tuesday that the Sun River levee should be able to be certified without causing too much of a financial burden.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is a part of Homeland Security, requires levees across the country to be certified as part of a program to digitize and upgrade flood maps to ensure the structures protect the public safety.

Napolitano said U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester put what’s been a contentious local issue on her radar.

“At one point, I reached Senator Tester on his tractor,” said Napolitano, standing on the levee with the Sun River flowing behind her.

Residents who rely on the 15-foot-high levee are worried about the cost and red tape of recertification, and that prompted Napolitano to make a stop in Great Falls before she visits the state’s northern border today on other business.

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