Congressman Rick Berg today submitted testimony to the Army Corps of Engineers, who is holding public hearings in Bismarck tonight regarding their draft surplus water reports, which includes a proposal to charge a storage fee for access to water stored in Missouri River reservoirs.
"Restricting access to natural flows from the Missouri River and charging a fee for water drawn from the reservoirs contradicts the legal and historical precedents surrounding the mainstream dam system," stated Berg. "The Corps' proposals today are another attempt to apply a one size fits all approach to managing the Missouri River that will have a devastating impact when it comes to accessing the river's water. The fact remains that the water flowing through the Missouri River in North Dakota continues to belong to our state and its citizens."
The Corps of Engineers is proposing with draft planning documents released earlier this month to create a storage fee system by designating some water stored in Missouri River reservoirs as surplus. Berg believes that the natural flows of the Missouri River, or those flows that would be in the River if the reservoirs were not in place, are the property of the state and the Corps cannot charge for that usage.