Holden asks Corps to release water

Friday, April 11, 2003

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Bob Holden has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release more water from upstream dams on the Missouri River in order to help farmers downstream.

Holden says low water levels have delayed barge shipments of fertilizer needed to treat about 255,000 acres of cropland in Missouri.

"This is the fourth year of drought in the Missouri River basin and the upstream reservoirs were designed to provide water at times like these," Holden said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

"This is a critical time for agricultural terminals to receive fertilizer shipments for this year's planting season."

Holden said he requested the water release during a phone call Tuesday to Army Corps of Engineers officials in Washington. A corps spokesman did not have any immediate comment Thursday.

Missouri and other downstream states, which use the river for barge transportation, have been locked in a political battle for years with upstream states, which use the river's dam-created lakes for recreation.

"The corps should be providing minimum service to navigation, but it has failed to fulfill its obligation," Holden said. "Missouri's farmers need some relief."

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