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Former Interior Secretary wants park along Missouri River

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Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kwmu/local-kwmu-508580.mp3

St. Louis, MO. – Former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt says converting the Missouri River between St. Louis and Kansas City into a national park would improve the environment and spur the economy.

Babbitt says creating a park along the 366-mile stretch could put the Midwest on par with such tourist destinations as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.

Babbitt says the federal government should discontinue farm subsidies and instead buy floodplain crop lands:

"If the vision were there, my guess is there'd be a lot of farmers out there willing to make that transition and frankly the farm programs, I think, are in the future going to be modified in ways that will free money up to pay farmers for restoring land rather than farming it," Babbitt said.

If enacted, the proposal would also end barge traffic on the Missouri River. Commercial shippers argue the Missouri is vital to national commerce.

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