Kinston leaders meet with DC lawmakers on Neuse River flooding

Published: May. 3, 2017 at 4:20 PM EDT
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As flood waters continue to rise in Kinston, the city's mayor is in Washington, DC lobbying for help to prevent the next flood.

BJ Murphy and other city leaders wrapped up two days of meetings on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon. The meetings were arranged before this week's flooding.

"What we want to do in bringing our message to DC is bringing some of stories of why we need some significant flood prevention in eastern North Carolina specifically in along the Neuse River basin," said Murphy.

Seven months ago, Kinston was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Back in 1999, Hurricane Floyd did the same thing and Murphy wants state and federal help to keep it from happening.

The group met with both Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis, as well as other lawmakers.

Murphy is asking for help with things like adding dams, dredging the Neuse River, and even alternative sources of water supply.

Lawmakers in Washington say they're on board.

"From a federal standpoint I've already talked to the Army Corps of Engineers about their willingness to have a private sector partner," said Sen. Richard Burr. "We think the North Carolina State University would be a perfect partner to do a lot of the assessments."

Burr says the meetings are to get the conversation going between state, local and federal governments.

"Really the work is going to have to be at the state and federal level," said Murphy. "So we're just making sure that they're communicating and they really understand our concerns before they're thinking about policy."

The mayor is heading back to Kinston Wednesday night, while the Neuse River is expected to crest sometime tomorrow.