USA: Demolition of Rock Pinnacles Starts Soon, Senator Says
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised the news that a contract has been awarded for the demolition of rock pinnacles in the Mississippi River and the work could begin as early as this week.
In a November 29 meeting with Durbin and five other Midwest Senators, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, agreed to expedite the demolition process in order to help navigation on the Mississippi River.
“The Army Corps of Engineers has wasted no time in awarding a contract to demolish these rock pinnacles and improve navigation on the Mississippi River,” said Durbin. “In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to brief those directly impacted by the Mississippi’s low water levels on its strategy to prevent serious disruption to traffic along the river. I plan on convening the meeting as soon as next week with the Army Corps, local officials and stakeholders.”
Last week, Durbin met with Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson and Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Robert Flider to discuss efforts to prevent the disruption of navigation on the Mississippi River due to historic low water levels, and steps that are being taken to minimize the impact this would have on Illinois farming communities. The Mississippi River is a critical transportation artery for essential commodities, such as corn, grain and oilseeds, coal, petroleum and other products.
Recently, Durbin announced that he intends to convene a meeting of stakeholders – including Senators from states bordering the Mississippi River, state and local officials and representatives from industries such as agriculture and shipping – for a briefing from the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss navigation on the Mississippi River through means other than releasing additional water from the Missouri River.
In a letter responding to Durbin’s request for information in the impact that releasing water from the Missouri River would have on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the Army Corps stated that the combination of more favorable rain forecasts, “rock pinnacle removal, dredging, Upper Mississippi River releases, and the limited Missouri River flows currently authorized are expected to be sufficient to sustain navigation on the Middle Mississippi River”.
Press Release, December 18, 2012