Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is urging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to sponsor and pass legislation that would force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from the Missouri River to raise levels on the Mississippi. Drought conditions there could soon halt barge traffic. Beshear sent a letter to McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Wednesday asking them to take action quickly. If the Mississippi continues to drop there could be negative economic consequences.
Two river navigation trade associations say the Army Corps of Engineers will blow up rock outcrops on the Mississippi River next week. The rock pinnacles in Thebes, Ill., could block river traffic after Christmas if water levels continue to fall. The rock removal is a half-victory for barge companies, who also want the Corps to release water from Missouri River reservoirs.
American Waterways Operators spokesperson Ann McColloch says the rock blasting project is welcome news, but adds the work will take an extended period of time.
Governor Steve Beshear is joining officials from other states asking the Army Corps of Engineers not to restrict the flow of the Missouri River into the Mississippi. The Corps says the flow reduction is due to drought in the upper Missouri River.