Reps. Rick Berg, Kristi Noem (R -- SD) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) today sent a letter to U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall requesting a federal hearing to review the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan to charge fees for stored water in the Missouri River upper basin state reservoirs.
Reps. Berg, Noem and Rehberg wrote, "We believe that such a proposal contradicts the legal and historical precedents surrounding the main stem dam system on the Missouri River. For this reason, we are requesting a hearing to review the Corps' proposal as well as to review the legal and historical precedents surrounding the Corp's efforts in this regard."
On Tuesday, Berg submitted testimony to the Army Corps of Engineers, who held public hearings in Bismarck regarding their draft surplus water reports, which includes a proposal to charge a storage fee for access to water stored in Missouri River reservoirs.
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.