St. Louis Public Radio News
2:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2003

Judge Says Refusal to Lower Missouri is Serious

Washington – A federal judge today asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers why it is flouting her order to drop Missouri River water levels to protect birds and fish.

The agency has so far refused to reduce the river's water level, saying to do so would violate an earlier ruling from another federal court in St. Louis.

District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington told Justice Department attorneys that refusing to comply with a federal judge's order is a very serious matter.

Kessler ordered the flow changes on July 12th, when she granted an injunction to American Rivers and other conservation groups that are suing the corps to alter the river's flow.

The groups want the Missouri to ebb in the summer and surge in the spring to encourage fish spawning and bird nesting by threatened and endangered species.