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Published May 07, 2012, 10:18 PM

Oxbow residents upset by demolition of flood levees

Oxbow, ND (WDAY TV) - People in Oxbow feel like they can't catch a break. Today a county-hired bulldozer showed up and flattened two areas of the city's permanent flood protection. It's a FEMA law, a rule that residents and city leaders say makes no sense in this situation.

People in Oxbow feel like they can't catch a break. Today a county-hired bulldozer showed up and flattened two areas of the city's permanent flood protection. It's a FEMA law, a rule that residents and city leaders say makes no sense in this situation.

Frank Pearson – Oxbow Resident: "This is a great example of government waste."

Frank Pearson lives right across the street. He woke up to the levee being taken down.

Frank Pearson: "I can't believe that something would be that stupid you come out here and wreck this thing that we've spent years giving us this protection.”

FEMA has a rule that if it buys land, nothing can be placed on it. Oxbow was buying time, as elected officials in Washington said they'd tried to work on an exception.

Mayor Jim Nyhoff – Oxbow: “"Prior to today we could of beat a flood that was 2 feet higher than 2009 because of all the work we've done since with the protection that we've done and now we have a set back again."

Now to keep from losing the city if the water would rise next year, levees would have to be built in these trouble spots. Nyhoff says county tax dollars were used for this work today, and federal tax money will build them again and then again take them down. Not to mention the work it adds on the city.

Mayor Jim Nyhoff: “"We got the diversion going on, we got people's ability to stay in their homes, medical hardships financial hardships we've gone through effort to protect the community and now we've got this throwing at us as well."

Now even though it’s an eyesore, residents are hoping they leave these piles of clay, that way if its needed next year it's here for the taking. They're guessing more money will be spent to haul it away.

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