Blaine’s Bulletin by U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer
Ever since the first fur traders found their way into what would later become the great state of Missouri, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have served as foundations of expansion and economic growth. And whether or not you live close to one of these bodies of water, their role as critical lifelines to our state and our nation is undisputed.
In the 3rd Congressional District, we are fortunate enough to benefit from both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Mississippi River runs along the east side of the 3rd District for roughly 75 miles, while the Missouri River runs through the center of the district for roughly 140 miles. With hundreds of miles of river running throughout the 3rd District I have been and will remain committed to ensuring they are properly managed and administered in ways that benefit hard-working folks here in the Show-Me-State.
Recently, I was able to successfully include language in the House Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) ensuring that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has a clear, results-based strategy for environmental mitigation on the Missouri River. For much too long, the Corps has simply been operating under the assumption that more private land acquisition is better irrespective of actual benefits to fish and wildlife.
The measure would require the Corps to submit detailed information regarding its strategy for managing mitigation on the Missouri to Congress through the president’s annual budget. The Corps must describe proposed federal actions and assess progress for each fiscal year and also identify acreage enrolled in government conservation programs in the Missouri River Basin that could be incorporated into the mitigation project. It is incredible to me that the Corps would buy private land for conservation purposes and not take into account land already enrolled in government conservation programs!
In a related matter, just last week I was pleased to learn that an effort that I led with the support of the Missouri delegation had been approved. The Maritime Administration designated the M-29 corridor as a Marine Highway which will help promote navigation and economic development regionally along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The M-29 corridor, known as the Kansas City Connecter, stretches from Kansas City to Sioux City along the Missouri River. This designation expands our ability to move products from the Midwest and distribute them to the world, which results in more jobs and greater prosperity for residents of the 3rd District and beyond. We are working on a similar designation on the portion of the Mississippi that flows from Minnesota to St. Louis.
Clearly, Missouri’s delegation in the House understands the lessons that history has taught us about the importance of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to both the economic future of our state and country. The legacy of those early traders still lives with us today and I remain committed to ensuring these powerful natural resources to serve future generations of Missourians and Americans.
As always, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns.
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