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Farm Bureau Says Expensive Upper Missouri River Study is a Waste

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – During one of three Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) public meetings held in Missouri by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Farm Bureau expressed opposition for the need of yet another study on use of the river.

Cole County Farm Bureau President Harry Thompson testified in Jefferson City on Missouri Farm Bureau’s behalf. He said the review of the “contemporary needs” of the Missouri River is simply code for “let’s end commercial navigation and we’ll decide how much water the lower basin needs.”

The MRAPS was initiated by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan in 2009 to determine whether the congressionally authorized purposes as established in the Flood Control Act of 1944 were “contemporary”. Farm groups such as Farm Bureau see the study as an effort to legitimize terminating Missouri River navigation so greater water storage could be maintained in Upper Basin reservoirs.

Thompson said the study could be used to benefit all states that utilize the Missouri River. “We have an opportunity to not only reiterate our support for the current authorized purposes but seek ways to optimize critical purposes such as flood control and navigation,” he said. “Can we use this study to examine the current Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project and identify ways it can be strengthened? It makes sense to work with landowners and local officials to develop potential improvements that will benefit not only people but critical infrastructure.”

Today, a river barge can move a ton of cargo 576 miles per gallon of fuel compared to 413 miles for rail and only 155 miles for a truck. “Has there ever been a better time to promote our marine highway?” said Thompson who referred to crowded interstate highways, volatile fuel prices, and a growing desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The other public meetings were held in Kansas City and St. Joseph. The Corps will accept written comments through September 20, 2010. They can be e-mailed to: or sent to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study, Attn: CENWO-PM-AA, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Suite 9000, Omaha, NE 68102-4901.


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