Legislators: Corps’ dredging policy hurting river commerce
by For the MBJ
Published: April 4,2011
MISSISSIPPI RIVER — American merchandise and farm products intended for export via the Mississippi River are being hampered due to a lack of dredging activity on lower reaches of the river, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) asserted in a letter sent April 1 to President Obama.
Cochran and Wicker signed a letter drafted by Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that calls the President’s attention to the consequences of a new Army Corps of Engineers policy to limit dredging activities on the Lower Mississippi River. The policy has allowed silt to accumulate and restrict the width and depth of the deep-draft navigation channel that is vital to moving U.S. goods on more than 12,000 miles of waterways to the Gulf of Mexico for export, the senators say.
“The commerce from our ports in the Delta, Vicksburg and Natchez will be disadvantaged if the Lower Mississippi River channel is restricted enough to slow or stop shipments,” Cochran said. “I believe the Obama administration needs to address this problem now before it becomes more critical.”
The Army Corps policy change on dredging has led to shipping restrictions, which could be worsened as river levels drop in the next few months, the senators claim. The Corps has warned that it may only be able to guarantee a 40-foot channel in late spring, which is five feet less than the authorized channel depth. Some shippers estimate that a one-foot reduction would require ships to reduce cargo by 1,500 tons.
The Senators’ letter cites the effect the lack of dredging and reduced capacity will have on shipping costs and overall U.S. international competitiveness.
The letter was also signed by Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
Source: Sen. Thad Cochran’s Office
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
FOLLOW THE MBJ ON TWITTERMy Tweets
Top Posts & Pages
- Mad Genius, Eyevox owner acquires Mississippi Film Studios
- UPDATE — David Watkins says JRA left him in dark about HUD's Farish St. involvement
- Payday lender, fired executive exchanging blame for lender’s regulatory woes
- Grain buyer’s bankruptcy could take steep toll on Delta farmers
- UMMC reaching out after death of high school football player
- Report: Mississippi has worst child poverty rate in U.S.
- Nehi Bottling Company has been a Cleveland fixture for 85 years
- Fitch gives Mississippi Power a negative outlook due to Kemper plant
- UPDATED: Jackson agrees to repay HUD $1.5 million for Farish Street blunders