U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) applauded a recent announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it completed the first phase of the rock removal process ahead of schedule on the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill.
"I'm pleased the Corps has heeded my calls and continues to take positive steps in the rock removal process to help prevent a crisis on the Mississippi River," said Blunt "This is a step in the right direction, and I urge the Corps to continue monitoring water levels and to ensure the maintenance of commercial navigation."
On November 16, 2012, Blunt joined 14 of his colleagues in a letter to the Army Corps urging immediate action to "remove impediments to navigation by demolishing rock pinnacles" on the Mississippi River "in order to avert the looming crisis." The Senators urged the Army Corps of Engineers to "undertake this work as soon as possible."
On November 30, 2012, Blunt joined a bipartisan group of 16 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to President Barack Obama urging the president to issue an emergency directive to streamline the contracting process for rock removal on the Mississippi River, as well as explicitly authorize the Army Corps to release water on the Missouri River.
In a recent press release, the Corps of Engineers announced, "The first phase of the most critical rock removal work on the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill., has been completed ahead of schedule, providing mariners with additional depth in the navigation channel."
The Corps also noted that "The work removed approximately 365 cubic yards of limestone from the river to reduce the risk for vessels in the channel during extreme low water The initial phase of the work addressed areas that had the most immediate impact on navigation and additional rock removal work is ongoing."