Missouri U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, along with Senators from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, want to overhaul the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ management of the lower Missouri River. Blunt, a Republican, says their bill introduced this week is designed to reduce flood risk and improve flood protection along the lower river basin. He says last year’s flooding from March through August made for an unbelievable year.
“We think the Corps can plan better,” he tells Brownfield Ag News. “But we think the Corps needs some direction and some flexibility to be able to plan better and that’s what this legislation would do.”
Blunt says the bill requires the Corps to come up with a project feasibility study and gives it flexibility for any project where the federal share is less than $75 million to be able to move forward more quickly.
Blunt says it lets the Corps look at the southern Missouri River basin as a unique waterway.
“We’re not trying to get into opening the entire plan or needlessly involve our friends north of us on the Missouri River when they don’t need to be involved. Certainly would welcome input from them,” he says.
Blunt says the Corps will have to look at how navigation and flood control can be a bigger priority.
“All of our input from farm families, farm organizations, businesses and communities along the river has been very positive so far and we hope we can continue to move forward in a unified way to get this done,” says Blunt.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst applauds the bill and says it is a huge step forward.
By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News
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