The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working collaboratively on the study with Tribes, Federal and State agencies, and other Stakeholders within the Missouri River Basin and also along the Mississippi River. In the process people in the basin have had, and will continue to have, input into how the Missouri is managed in the future. Thatâ€™s what makes this study historic - this has never happened before.
MRAPS completed the scoping process last year will begin the review of the purposes this year. MRAPS was authorized for 5 million per year for 5 years. Some members of Missouriâ€™s Congressional Delegation have asked the House and Senate Appropriations Committees not to fund the remaining years of the study.
This study needs to be completed and its recommendations sent on to Congress to make changes in the operation of the Missouri River. And changes are needed. The GAO documented that while taxpayers are spending millions to support barge traffic on the river, 84 percent of the traffic on the Missouri River is transporting sand and gravel, with 54 percent of those shipments traveling less than one mile, and 85 percent traveling less than 10 miles. MRAPS represents the best - and perhaps only - chance to improve how funds are invested in the river and to make the river more fish and wildlife friendly. Changes in operation will save future tax dollars and provide great economic benefits to the basin through increased recreational spending.
Re: Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) Funding
We, the undersigned groups, support continued full funding for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS). MRAPS is a broad-based congressionally authorized study that will, for the first time, review the eight authorized Missouri River project purposes established by the Flood Control Act (FCA) of 1944. This study will analyze the purposes in terms of what is best for the American taxpayer, the people within the entire basin, fish and wildlife, and todayâ€™s economic values and priorities, rather than those of nearly 70 years ago.
The eight purposes: flood control, hydropower, recreation, fish and wildlife, irrigation, water supply, water quality, and navigation have not been reviewed since the FCA was written in 1944. The Missouri, the longest river in America, in essence is operating on a 67 year old business plan. This review is urgently needed and long overdue.
Some of the authorized purposes meet or greatly surpass the FCAâ€™s expectations. Recreation today exceeds original FCA estimates by more than 10 times. Other purposes have fallen way short. Navigation on the Missouri today is less than one tenth what the FCA estimated it would be. This dramatically demonstrates why this five year review has to be fully funded, completed, and its recommendations sent on to Congress.
Continued full funding of MRAPS is a smart investment. A comprehensive review and accompanying changes will streamline future Corps operational expenses. This will save tax dollars and will bring Missouri River management into the 21st century.
I strongly urge you to support full funding for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study.
However I must show you who is against the review of the designated uses and the analysis of their development & economic contribution to our region. Every individual on this list needs to be contacted and urged to Support the full funding of MRAPS and stop trying to cover up the continued waste of tax payer dollars for a management strategy that continues to bail out and support a failed industry. This continued waste at the moment is costing tax payers a minimum 9 million a year. What some are suggesting be done is to continue to spend that 9 million to support the present designated uses as they are without review. If this study is not done, TAX PAYERS could be on the hook for another 67 years for 9 million dollars or worse, more spending to support an industry that will never be sustainable on it's own merits especially in the stretch of the Mo. River that runs through Iowa & Nebraska.
Here's a list of the members of the House and Senate that have signed on to the latest letter from Missouri asking for no more funding for MRAPS.
Members of Missouri's congressional delegation signing the Luetkemeyer letter included Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rep. Sam Graves, Rep. Todd Akin, Rep. Billy Long, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
Also signing are Illinois Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Aaron Schock, John Shimkus, Bobby Schilling; and
Iowa Reps. Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Steve King.
Now here are some facts that should open your eyes to the continued waste of tax payer dollars for the purpose of supporting navigation through the Iowa & Nebraska portion of the Mo. River.
Two states, Iowa and Missouri, are served by navigation on both the Missouri River and the Mississippi River. Both private companies and the Corps have conducted navigation activities on the Missouri River to and/or from these states. Companies transport numerous commodities, such as fertilizer, which is shipped from a port of origin to a port of destination, or sand and gravel, which some companies mine from the river and then transport to a processing facility on shore. In addition, the Corps conducts river maintenance and habitat recovery projects, which require the shipment of waterway improvement material, such as stone or rock. In this context, Congress asked GAO to determine (1) the annual and total tonnage of commodity shipments for each state served by the Missouri River, and (2) the comparable tonnage of commodity shipments transported on the Mississippi River for states served by both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
Of the total commodity tonnage shipped on the Missouri River between 1994 and 2006, 83 percent (100,183,464 tons) originated and/or terminated in the state of Missouri.
For the other states served by navigation on the Missouri River, Kansas accounted for 12 percent (14,171,543 tons), Nebraska accounted for 3 percent (3,279,355), and Iowa accounted for 2 percent (2,578,890) of the tonnage transported.
Tonnage shipped per year over the 13-year period has ranged between 6.9 million and 9.7 million tons. The majority of the shipments on the Missouri River during this period were of sand and gravel, which accounted for 84 percent (about 91.3 million tons) of the total tonnage shipped.
Of this amount, approximately 54 percent of the sand and gravel was transported 1 mile or less, 31 percent between 2 and 9 miles, and 14 percent was transported 10 miles or more.
According to Corps officials, the short distance traveled is because private companies often mine sand and gravel directly from the Missouri River and then ship the material short distances to a processing facility on shore.
As you can clearly see, Iowa & Nebraska navigational Industry is not and has not been a economical benefit to the region. In large part the barges that have gone up or down this section of the Mo. River have been mining sand & gravel to maintain the present navigational channel for the navigation purposes that just simply does not exist in Iowa.
The number 1 most active entity of barges up and down the section of the Mo. River that runs through Iowa & Nebraska is drum roll please, The Army Corps of Enginers. They are spending your TAX PAYER dollars to maintain a navigational channel for GHOST SHIPS and the phantom navigational industry that just simply has not materialized to be the economic benefit to the region as the developing planners had envisioned. The truth of the matter is, it never will because of the region being highly susceptible to drought conditions north of Gavins Point Dam. Low water tables or no water, limits what you can get up or down river.
However the Mo. Delegation wishes to continue to spend 9 million a year of your tax payer dollars to maintain the Iowa & Nebraska portion of the river for Navigational purposes. Now you do the math. 9 million a year for the next 67 years vs the 5 million a year for 4 more years to complete the evaluation and priority of said purposes and economic benefits.
Clearly as a Tax payer you can understand why the Mo. Delegation wishes Congress to prevent the completion of MRAPS funding. It would expose the truth that we are spending millions to maintain a navigational industry in Iowa & Nebraska the just simply is and has been non-existent and they wish to keep that funding going for their own benefit of a simple few who without being subsidized by you the tax payer would have simply failed and closed shop long ago.
They do not want Congress to see the facts related to other designated uses and their Economic growth statistics. If congress did ,they certainly might apply common sense and apply that 9 million a year to other designated purposes that have proven to be a Economic benefit to the region and to the rural communities in Iowa & Nebraska. Another perspective to keep in mind is that the MRAPS study would prove without a doubt that the navigation Industry in the Iowa & Nebraska stretch does not require to be funded, thus reducing the burden placed on TAX Payers. We would find out that other investment opportunities are in fact a more responsible use / application of TAX PAYER DOLLARS.
However I as an Iowa Constituent am deeply ashamed of the Iowa delegation who has gone along with trying to undermine the purpose of MRAPS. In my opinion they have been Hoodwinked. They simply are looking at this issue from the wrong perspective because it would save us Millions if not Billions down the road, why at the same time create and generate the support for other designated uses & purposes that have grown and continue to grow rural economies.
I am asking you as an Iowan to e mail our Iowa delegation in DC asking them to Support and fully fund the MRAPS study. It could save us millions why at the same time open other and greater economic opportunities for the state of Iowa & Nebraska. To continue to fund Navigational management of the Mo. River that runs through Iowa & Nebraska is like continuing to Fund the Bridge to Nowhere project. It is simply irresponsible and we should hold our states delegation accountable for the continued bailout support for a navigational industry that isn't in IOWA or NEBRASKA.
As a state we get a River that is to be managed like a sewage ditch on the battle fields of Iraq or Afghanistan, why southern counter parts are the only ones to reap the benefits of an industry that even in their own state hasn't even materialized.
Past and Future Grain Traffic on the Missouri River
C. Phillip Baumel, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture
Iowa State University
â€¢ Commercial barge traffic has been declining since 1977
â€¢ Reduced wheat production, highly competitive railroad
system, high Missouri Rivers barge costs, growth of
â€¢ No reason to believe these trends will reverse
â€¢ Public cost of navigation on the Missouri River exceeds
benefits to shippers
In closing my fellow Iowan's, please contact our Iowa DC delegation and request that they support the complete funding of the MRAPS Study. If we do not take action we maybe forced to continue to spend 9 million dollars a year of tax payer dollars on a Ghost Navigational Industry that does not exist in Iowa and never has on our stretch of the Mo. River. Other designated uses & said economies have grown in other regions of the Mo. River in other states and a prime example of that growth is SD recreational Industry on the Mo River that contributes 200 million dollars annually to it's state economy and rural economies.
A 100 million dollar plus ANNUAL recreational Economy on the Mo. River that runs through Iowa is something that MRAPS would uncover and expose our true potential. However some with in the Mo. Delegation do not want these truths exposed and only seek to keep Iowa's portion of the Mo. River managed for their own benefit. Pure & Simple
The Mo. River should be a National Treasure not a National Travesty!
Thank You for your time and your help in this very critical issue.
William J. Smith
Sioux City Iowa 5309 hwy 75n lot 44