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House Passes River Bill

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Location: Washington, DC


HOUSE PASSES RIVER BILL

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA) Conference Report. Included in the legislation was U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof's provision authorizing extensive improvements to the lock and dam system along the Mississippi River.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA) Conference Report. Included in the legislation was U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof's provision authorizing extensive improvements to the lock and dam system along the Mississippi River.

"It's about time," said Hulshof. "The passage of WRDA is long overdue. This Conference Report represents a reasonable compromise among all stakeholders. Improvement of navigation along our nation's rivers is good for our farmers, our economy and our environment. It's past time to begin making these improvements."

Locks on the upper Mississippi River were built in the 1930s to fit the needs of vessels on the river at the time: steamboats. The original locks were designed to have a lifespan of 50 years. They have been standing for over 70 years. The WRDA legislation authorizes new 1,200 foot locks at Mississippi River locks 20, 21, 22, 24, and 25 and the LaGrange and Peoria Locks on the Illinois Waterway. Expanding these locks will make it easier and more efficient to get Missouri products to market, making the state's farms and businesses more competitive.

In addition to helping keep America's businesses and farmers competitive, river transportation is beneficial to the public at large. The typical tow on the upper Mississippi River pushes 15 barges. Every one of these barge tow combinations takes 870 large semis off of our nation's congested highways.

Despite a veto threat from the Bush Administration, the House passed WRDA on a final vote of 381 to 40.

"It would be a mistake for the Administration to veto this important legislation," Hulshof stated. "If our farmers are to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must begin making these improvements to our nation's waterways. Failure will cost farmers and consumers."


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