McCaskill, Blunt organize river management group

Due to recent flooding, Missouri senators are organizing managing problems.

United States senators Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., collaborated between partisan lines to solve the incessant problem of management of the country’s volatile rivers by creating the Missouri River Working Group.

By creating this group, which also includes the U.S. senators Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., the members plan to ignore party lines and come to a quick solution to river overflow, levees and other controversial issues related to the intra-state waterways.

“The more we’re working with other states in a collaborative fashion, the more likely we’re going to get the needs met in terms of managing the river,” McCaskill said in an email. “For too long it’s been the south fighting the north, typically over recreation versus navigation. Now we’re united behind flood control and Missouri is going to come in high on the list in terms of merit, priorities and river management because we were such a river intensive state.”

McCaskill said in a news release that this collaboration would send a positive light to Missouri citizens who are getting the brunt of the emergency responses to the extreme river conditions by looking toward the future and not being blinded by party disagreement.

“The Missouri River is a tremendous shared resource with the power to create great economic benefits for those who live and depend on it,” Hoeven said in a news release. “As we saw this year, however, it can also cause tremendous damage and hardship. The purpose of our working group is to get everyone up and down the basin working together to analyze fully this year’s flood event, and to take steps to help prevent it from happening in the future.”

At the end of June, McCaskill and Blunt sent a letter to President Barack Obama in support of governor Jay Nixon’s request for a declaration of a federal emergency situation in Missouri.

“This spring's devastating floods, up and down the Missouri, provide strong evidence of the need to get a better grip on this river," Conrad said in a news release.  "First and foremost, we need to improve flood control in order to protect people and property, and avoid similar flooding in the future.  I hope this bipartisan group can come together and agree on a strategy that can accomplish that goal and still ensure the river is an accessible resource for others who want to utilize it." Blunt said in a press release that the first meeting of the group was very constructive and was pleased at the ability to bring this bipartisan group together with one goal in mind.

“We all agree that we must work towards a river system that is focused on flood control and the protection of people and property,” Blunt said in a news release. “We have a unique opportunity to find solutions and refocus on the basics of river management, and I am optimistic that this group will work together to achieve those goals.”

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