South Dakota’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers over the flow of the Missouri River is now challenged by four court orders issued in four other states. One side says the multi-million-dollar tourism industry could be hurt if fish die following a release of water from the big dams on the river. On the other side, Kevin Knepper at Big Soo Terminal in Sioux City says barge shipping is already suffering from low water levels this dry spring.He says most products originate in the Gulf of Mexico things like fertilizer, steel, petroleum, lumber, and other trade goods. The river-shipping industry claims clients save millions over the cost of shipping products like grain by railroad, and Knepper says this is a busy time of year. As many as 100 barges a year are off-loaded at Sioux City, and the cargo’s distributed to Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota. He says grain tends to move during summer months, and usually that’s when water is highest and barge shipping is most profitable. He says barges and the towboats that pull them are “bumping the bottom” along the river and have to anchor farther out into the river channel. That makes it more work to reach and unload the barges, and prevents loading them full, as they’d ride too low in the water. South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow has proposed a summit between the governors of the Missouri River states of Iowa, Nebraska, South and North Dakota, and Montana.
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