Corps rejects plea to increase water flowing into Mississippi River
By Bloomberg News
Published: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 7:22 p.m.
The Army Corps of Engineers rejected shippers' requests to increase the flow from a major Mississippi River tributary, which a barge company said is needed to keep open the nation's busiest waterway.
The Corps found there would be “significant negative effects” on the Missouri River system by increasing the flow, including depleting drinking water supplies, loss of marine- wildlife habitat and higher bills for hydropower users, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army's assistant secretary for civil works, said in a Dec. 6 letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, released on Friday.
Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, was among lawmakers seeking a study to help make the case for additional water flow.
“The letter tells me we need to continue to pray for rain,” Martin Hettel, senior manager of bulk sales for AEP River Operations LLC, said in an interview aboard a tow boat on the Mississippi River just south of Chester, Illinois.
Barges carrying grain, soybeans, coal, oil and other commodities on the Mississippi River have started to reduce their loads to navigate waters shrunk by the worst drought in 50 years.
By the end of this month, rock structures in the river near southern Illinois threaten to curtail traffic as the river recedes, according to a Dec. 5 forecast from the National Weather Service.
Companies that rely on the river to transport goods, including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and American Electric Power Co., may see a decline in their cargo shipments.
“I thought it was a reach to get water off the Missouri,” AEP's Hettel said. “Industry knows what they're facing and we were just looking for more options.”
Without rain, the river at St. Louis is forecast to reach its lowest level since 1940 by the first of the year. Shippers are urging immediate action because any water released from the Missouri River takes about two weeks to raise the level of the Mississippi, according to the Waterways Council Inc., based in Arlington, Virginia.
The industry group estimates about $7 billion in commodities travel on the river each December and January. A halt in traffic may affect more than 20,000 jobs, including dockworkers and coal miners, the council said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- One dead, one wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- Patients denied as donor organs discarded
- Film tax credits bill would bump up state budget
- Castle Shannon man accused of crashing way down Pittsburgh street
- Pope Francis inspires incredible optimism
- Bethel Park man to receive degree from Pitt he earned 64 years ago
- Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
- Newsmaker: Rosalind Ross
- Bullied South Fayette student’s case prompts wiretap overhaul legislation
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- District attorney’s office takes paperwork from Wilkinsburg Middle School