Updated 3:23 p.m. with statement from McCaskill
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t increase water flow from the upper Missouri River the next move may be to ask the president to step in.
The Corps began reducing the outflow from a dam in South Dakota on Friday.
That means less water for the already-low Mississippi River, which could lead to restrictions or even a halt on barge traffic by mid-December.
Senator Blunt says transportation down the river could be severely impacted if nothing is done.
"If the Corps is not responsive then the next step would be to evaluate whether we should ask the president for a declaration of economic emergency, which would allow the Corps to go outside any restriction that they think they have," Blunt said during a conference call.
Blunt says he thinks the Corps can open the flow without such an emergency declaration. Missouri’s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said in a statement that it’s time to ask the president to take action.
Nearly 80 members of Congress, three governors and many waterway operators have asked the Corps to reconsider.
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