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N.M. Residents Push for Levee Accreditation

BERNALILLO, N.M. (CN) - Residents of Sandoval County say they were forced to buy flood insurance, because the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District let the accreditation of Bernalillo's levee system lapse.

Residents brought a class action in Sandoval County Court, claiming the district "failed to provide data and documentation" to the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could have stopped FEMA from de-certifying the levee.

As a result, the plaintiffs' mortgage companies forced them to buy flood insurance, the lawsuit claims.

"The Bernalillo levee, as a non-accredited levee, is as if it is non-existent and provides no flood protection to the residents who live behind it," the plaintiffs claim.

They seek an injunction requiring the district to take whatever actions are necessary for accreditation. They are represented by William M. Mast.

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