JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. –Attorney General Chris Koster sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday, supporting a request for the President to declare an emergency to avert a shut-down of commercial navigation on the Mississippi River.
“If commercial navigation is significantly impaired or eliminated because of navigation hazards, there will be catastrophic consequences to the economy of the nation’s heartland, including Missouri, which will reverberate throughout the country,” Koster wrote in the letter.
Koster said the drought conditions in the Mississippi River basin, along with Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to reduce flows from the dams on the upper Missouri, threatens commercial transportation because of the presence of rock pinnacles near Grand Tower and Thebes, Illinois. Koster said the emergency declaration is necessary to fast-track efforts by the Corps to remove the hazardous rock pinnacles.
In addition to calls to fast-track the removal of the pinnacles, Koster is asking the President to direct the Corps to take all necessary action to maintain flow support from the Missouri River system for downstream navigation until the pinnacles can be removed.
Numerous industry and trade groups affected by commercial navigation formally requested a presidential declaration of emergency under the Stafford Act on November 27.