Durbin: Corps Decision on Missouri River Understandable

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo Bich Nguyen catches a smallmouth bass at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River near Yankton, S.D. North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, which in the past have brought suits to reduce water being released from dams to boost recreation, are once again battling battling downstream states facing a severe drought and low water levels that threaten commercial traffic along a 180-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Jay Pickthorn, File) NO SALES

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By Aaron Hepker

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal lawmaker from Illinois who pressed the Army Corps of Engineers to release more Missouri River water into the drought-starved Mississippi says he understands why the agency has decided against it.

Sen. Dick Durbin last week joined several other lawmakers from Mississippi River states in asking the corps to scale back the amount of the Missouri water it began withholding last month from the Mississippi.

But a top corps official, Jo-Ellen Darcy, says that won't happen. She says she believes the low Mississippi will remain open to shipping despite concerns otherwise by lawmakers and the barge industry.

Durbin says he appreciates the corps' other rationale that it is bound legislatively to be stewards of the Missouri regardless of the potential fallout on the Mississippi.

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