Economy
8:15 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Drought Concerns Remain For Barge Industry

Credit (via Flickr/The Confluence)

The barge industry again raised concerns Wednesday about the impact low water levels on the Mississippi River will have on shipping.

According to a new report from American Waterways Operators, low water could affect more than 8,000 jobs along the river. The group's spokeswoman, Ann McCulloch, says the situation isn't expected to improve any time soon.

"We're definitely worried about the immediate impact if commerce is severely impaired," said McCulloch.  "We're at that stage already and at this point it can only get worse."

McCulloch says the industry is pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to release more water from the Missouri River to ease shipping woes. The Corps has been reluctant to do that, stating that policy dictates water be rationed should the drought continue. 

The Corps has also been removing rock formations near Cairo, Ill., in an effort to keep the shipping channel open to barge traffic.

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