WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues, including fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, are calling on President Obama to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take action ensuring that commercial navigation of the Mississippi River remains possible.
“The President needs to take a look at what’s happening in the Midwest and act,” McCaskill said. “The clock is ticking while jobs and businesses in the region are endangered, and it’s imperative that we protect them.”
The Army Corps of Engineers recently reduced the flow of water from the Missouri River into the Mississippi River at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota from 17,000 cubic feet per second to 12,000 cubic feet per second, which by mid-December could jeopardize river shipping lanes—adversely affecting the region’s economy.
The letter requests that the President take steps to allow the Army Corps to quickly demolish rock pinnacles around Grand Tower and Thebes, Illinois, in order to ensure clear navigation on the Mississippi. It also requests that the President issue an emergency directive to allow water flows from the Missouri River sufficient to maintain navigation on the Mississippi.
“Significant curtailment of navigation…will threaten manufacturing industries and power generation, and risk thousands of related jobs in the Midwest,” the letter reads.
McCaskill has been front and center in the effort to find a solution to this issue, recently joining 14 of her Senate colleagues in calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to take action preventing the reduced flow of water into the Mississippi River, as well as urging Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to request an emergency declaration.