By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis, MO – A new report by several environmental groups says that a $2 billion locks-and-dam project planned for the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers is unnecessary and harmful.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to build seven new locks on the rivers north of St. Louis. The agency says they're needed for better navigational efficiency.
But Brad Walker with the Isaac Walton League argues that barge traffic is down and the Corps could spend a lot less money and still accomplish its goal.
"There are the possibilities of using non-structural and small scale measures to improve traffic flow through the locks, the existing locks, as opposed to building the 1200 foot locks," Walker said.
The League's report says the Corps' project would stimulate barge traffic but not enough to justify the high price.
Calls to the Corps for comment were not returned.