Five months after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cancelled a scheduled public presentation on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project, Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt brought the federal agencies involved in the project together to resolve the disputes that are delaying a final decision on the project.
McCaskill and Blunt met with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency where they discussed ways to move toward a final resolution. In response to the meeting, the U.S. Army Corps committed to providing the Senators with a progress report by March 15 to ensure that the sides were moving toward a final decision.
"Given how long and spirited the disagreements about this project have been, just getting the sides together and communicating represents progress," McCaskill said. "Missouri families and businesses deserve some certainty, including a fair and final answer about where this project is headed, and I plan to keep after all sides to make sure they get one."
"This is another outrageous example of the government arguing with the government while nothing is accomplished," said Blunt. "This delay is ridiculous, and I'll continue pressing these agencies to get on the same page and release the draft Economic Impact Statement for public review as soon as possible."
The proposed St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project would close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system. Progress towards a final determination on the project has been delayed due to disagreements between federal agencies.
McCaskill had previously written to the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2012 regarding the delay, demanding that the agencies reach a resolution in 30 days and present a new Environmental Impact Statement in 60 days. When the agencies failed to meet the Senator's demand, McCaskill and Blunt organized this in-person meeting.
Blunt and former Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson wrote a letter in September 2012 calling on the Army Corps to provide answers regarding the project delay.