Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) today was encouraged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ response to requests that it increase Missouri River releases. In a letter, Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy reiterates that the Corps does not have the authority to increase Missouri River releases for the benefit of Mississippi River navigation.
The letter also echoes many of the concerns Johnson has voiced about the wrongheaded idea of releasing Missouri River water to help Mississippi River navigation traffic. Among other negative impacts cited, the Corps highlighted that increasing releases would hurt economic activity, diminish the ability to respond to long-term drought and risk ice jam flooding in winter months. The letter outlines separate actions that the Corps of Engineers will take to alleviate navigation concerns on the Middle Mississippi that, along with an updated forecast, are expected to be sufficient to sustain navigation on the Mississippi.
“When I heard that some were asking the Corps’ to increase Missouri River releases, I sent a clear message that this would be unacceptable,” said Johnson. “It not only goes against the law, but it is very short-sighted. South Dakotans are facing intense drought conditions and increasing releases would risk significant harm to South Dakota and other upstream states. I’m pleased that the Corps of Engineers is taking action along the Mississippi River to address the navigation concerns.
“The response the Corps sent is encouraging for South Dakota. If folks continue to pressure the Corps to increase releases, you can bet that I will fight their efforts. “
For the complete article see the 12-08-2012 issue.
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