Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say the continued drought in the western United States is forcing them to consider shortening the barge navigation season on the Missouri River by up to two months this year. But officials in this state say the Corps is not following the law if that is done. Corps Spokesman Paul Johnston says they have several interests pulling at them, including the needs of endangered species and people in upstream and downstream states. He says the Corps has a difficult balancing act to pull off. But Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has little sympathy for the quandry the Corps officials seem to be in. He says if they just followed what is in the original law that created the flood control dams in the Dakotas and Montana and not give way to recreational interests things would go a lot smoother. Nixon says the state has a lawsuit awaiting a decision in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the Corps will be held to that law or not. A decision could come in a month or so.
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