Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mayors along Mississippi want feds to pay attention to the river's issues

More than 20 mayors from cities and towns along the length of the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana, will gather in St. Louis Thursday and Friday to discuss a plan to bring national attention to problems with the river at a time when budgets are tight and money to address the issues is scarce, reports Bill Lambrecht of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Many river communities suffered a "one-two punch" recently as drought dried fields and hindered river traffic, then Hurricane Isaac flooded those fields, drowning much of the livestock of small-scale producers. But local officials were concerned about lack of attention to a laundry list of river issues, including crumbling ports and aging locks and dams, long before this summer, Lambrecht reports.

About 40 mayors have signed onto a new initiative to argue the river's case collectively to Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. The mayors will first pressure Congress to pass the Farm Bill, which contains drought and disaster relief. Then, they intent to ask for more robust flood insurance legislation. Lambrecht reports they plan to present a detailed platform of the river's needs early next year. (Read more)

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