Over the past several days, Senate and House members have sent letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raising concerns with the impending impact that low water levels will have on barge traffic on a portion of the Mississippi River. The Senate letter, led by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was signed by 15 senators. The House letter, led by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), was signed by 62 members of the House of Representatives. Contacts made by soybean farmers and organizations, including ASA, were successful in building the number of senators and representatives that signed onto the letters. Both letters, addressed to Assistant Army Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, stated concerns over possible disruption of Mississippi River navigation and urged immediate action to prevent the river’s closure.
In addition to the letter, Senate staff also met with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the situation. The Corps continues to maintain that it cannot expedite work on removing rock pinnacles or alter the planned reduction in water flows from the Missouri River without a directive from President Barack Obama or a legislative directive from Congress.
The waterways industry continues to pursue action that would trigger a directive from the president, and ASA will monitor and support the efforts to prevent a significant disruption of barge traffic on the Mississippi River, especially during this peak period of soybean shipping.