The Latest: Governors demand more control over waterways
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on governors meeting with federal officials about flooding (all times local):
The governors of three Midwest states ravaged by March flooding say they will pushing for more control over management of the Missouri River that borders their states.
Management of the dams and levees along the river falls to officials of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, who met with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson for much of Wednesday afternoon in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The three governors, all Republicans, questioned a shift by the Corps in 2004 to no longer prioritize flood control along the river over other goals, such as maintaining fish and wildlife habitat.
Asked whether the Corps indicated it would or could cede some river management decisions to the states, Parson replied, “Well, they listened.”
The governors said they plan to work together for that change, even if it means petitioning Congress to give states more authority in river management.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has been slated to attend Wednesday’s meeting, but ran into travel problems that required her to back out.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials were set to meet Wednesday with the governors of four flood-ravaged Midwestern states amid criticism of the federal agency for its management of swollen waterways.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, all Republicans, and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, were to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Council Bluffs.
Parson is among critics who have accused the Corps, which manages the river’s dams, of making the flooding worse. Last month, Parson admonished the agency to prioritize human safety and property over other goals, such as preserving fish and wildlife habitat.
But the Corps has said it works to balance all its priorities and that much of the flooding was well out of its control. The agency said that much of the water that created the flooding came from record rains and melting snow that flowed over frozen ground and directly into the river downstream of its dams, all while massive amounts of water filled Missouri River reservoirs and had to be released.