Conrad, Hoeven Push for Missouri River Study

Army Corps of Engineers Study Derailed in House Budget Proposal

Washington – Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven pressed Senate leadership today to reject a proposal approved by the House of Representatives that would prevent funding for a critical Army Corps of Engineers study examining the best uses of the Missouri River.

 In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators Conrad and Hoeven said the work of the study is well underway and they urged leadership to oppose language in the Continuing Resolution that would impact the Corps ability to continue it.  The bipartisan letter was also signed by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John Thune (R-SD), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

 “The Missouri River is vital to the central United States.  It is one of the most engineered river systems in the country, with six large dams that can store up to 73 million acre-feet of water,” the Senators wrote. “While studies have been completed related to the operation of the system, the (Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study) is the first dedicated solely to reviewing the authorized uses in the underlying law and whether those uses are still applicable and capable of ensuring the system's contemporary and future needs are met… Given the importance of this river system to the country, it would be unwise to stop this study now,  which is needed to ensure the system is maintained and operated in the most efficient and effective manner possible taking into account the current economic realities.”

 The Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) is a broad-based study to review the project purposes established by the Flood Control Act of 1944. The study is analyzing the eight authorized purposes in view of the current Basin values and priorities to determine if changes to the existing purposes and existing Federal water resource infrastructure may be warranted. Those eight purposes include: flood control, navigation, water supply, water quality, irrigation, recreation, hydropower and fish and wildlife.