Senators Urge Obama to Declare River Emergency (USA)
U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa) joined a bipartisan group of 15 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to President Barack Obama calling for “action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent an economic calamity in the center of our nation.”
Specifically, the lawmakers are urging the president to issue an emergency directive to streamline the contracting process for rock removal on the Mississippi River, as well as explicitly authorize the Army Corps to release water on the Missouri River.
“Given the magnitude of the economic impact that would result from a potentially months-long loss of navigation on the Mississippi, we support an emergency directive to permit additional water flows from Missouri River reservoirs to maintain navigation on the Mississippi, and to waive Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR) to allow the Corps of Engineers to expedite blasting of the rock pinnacles near Grand Tower and Thebes, Illinois,” the Senators wrote.
“The Mississippi River is an artery of commerce critical to the movement of hundreds of millions of tons of essential goods and commodities such as corn, grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals, and many other products important to the national economy,” said the Senators. “Given the potentially large negative impact of this looming disaster, we hope that you will give due consideration to our request.”
In addition to U.S. Senators Blunt and Harkin, Senators Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Al Franken (Minn.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), David Vitter (La.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) also signed the letter.
Press Release, December 3, 2012