Congress seeks Lower Missouri River navigability improvements

TAGS: Policy
grain barge river elevator DarcyMaulsby /iStock/Thinkstock.
This barge on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa is taking on a load of grain, either corn or soybeans, from area farms.
Members write USACE about dire situation related to navigation challenges in several areas along Missouri River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was urged to provide additional funding for projects that will improve safety and navigation on the Lower Missouri River in a letter from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), Rep. Sam Graves (R., Mo.) and seven additional members of Congress.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), along with Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R., Mo.), Vicky Hartzler (R., Mo.), Jason Smith (R., Mo.) and Ann Wagner (R., Mo.).

Many farmers, industries and small businesses in the Midwest rely on the Missouri River to transport goods. High water levels and record flooding in 2019 have prevented the Corps from completing repairs on water infrastructure projects, which has led to dangerous accidents that have significantly disrupted commerce on the river.

“Currently, there is a critically dire situation related to navigation challenges in several areas along the Missouri River where serious barge traffic accidents have occurred and commercial activity has nearly come to an abrupt halt as we enter harvest season in the Midwest,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We understand that the Kansas City District has received $20 million in emergency supplemental funds to conduct necessary work on the navigation channel. However, we understand that the need for resources between the Kansas City District and the Omaha District to fully address all the repairs is an estimated $200 million to ensure that the Lower Missouri River is fully navigable. As this situation evolves, we request the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilize administrative flexibilities and direct additional resources to address these challenges along the Missouri River,” they concluded.

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