(WASHINGTON D.C.) U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are considering a presidential option to address the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to reduce flow of water in the Mississippi river, potentially impacting commerce in the river's southern portion.
The Corps decided earlier this fall to reduce flow downstream from South Dakota. Missouri officials believe the reduction in flow could jeopardize the shipping lanes on the lower Mississippi.
On Wednesday, McCaskill sent Gov. Jay Nixon a letter urging him to request an emergency declaration from President Barack Obama, which would allow the Corps to release water into the Missouri River important to the maintenance of commercial navigation.
"I know Governor Nixon is as anxious as I am to get this problem solved--and an emergency declaration would give us the tools we need to find a solution," McCaskill said. "Missouri jobs depend on this critical action, and I'm going to explore every avenue possible to protect them."
McCaskill and Blunt joined more than a dozen of their colleagues earlier this year calling on the Corps to maintain navigation along the Mississippi River.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Blunt said he believes the Corps could make the decision on their own without the heightened presidential declaration, but would be in favor of one if it is necessary.
"The next step there is to evaluate whether we should be asking the president for a declaration of economic emergency which would allow the corp to go outside any restrictions they think they have," he said. "I believe they can do this under their current guidelines."