The House passed amendments to prohibit funding for a pair of river studies.   The two studies in question – the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study and the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan – are receiving harsh criticism from some Missouri lawmakers.  Executive Director of the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River Randy Asbury says it’s one step in removing wasteful spending practices.

Randy Asbury

Asbury says the studies take funding away from projects, including flood control.

Randy Asbury

Congressman Luetkemeyer’s amendments were part of the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act which would keep the Army Corps of Engineers from spending taxpayer dollars on the two studies.

Press Release from the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River

HIGBEE, MO. – Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer’s amendments to prohibit Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act funding for two Missouri River studies – the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) and the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan (MRERP) – successfully passed by voice vote in the House late last week.

“We are grateful that the House has again expressed its willingness to eliminate wasteful spending on Missouri River studies,” stated Randy Asbury, executive director of the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River.

“We supported Congressman Luetkemeyer’s efforts to prohibit FY2011 MRAPS funding and are grateful for his ongoing leadership on this issue. There is no place in present day Missouri River discussions for a study that pits one region against another.

The MRAPS, which came on the heels of a comprehensive 17-year, $35 million study that made significant changes to the Missouri River Master Manual, was designed to enhance the economic and recreation benefits of a few upper Missouri River interests at the expense of broader interests in both the Missouri and Mississippi River basins.

While the MRERP study was originally authorized to determine actions required to mitigate losses of aquatic and terrestrial habitat; recover federally listed species under the Endangered Species Act; and restore the ecosystem to prevent further declines among other native species, it has become singularly focused on restoring the ecosystem using a reference condition of pre-Lewis and Clark.

The MRERP study is scheduled to last at least another half-dozen years and its proposed FY2012 funding is $4 million.

“It’s time to refocus our efforts, energies and funding on the infrastructure needs critical to all Missouri River basin interests rather than wasting millions on unnecessary studies,” concluded Asbury.