South Dakota wants to take the lead in ending a regional water-war. Bill Janklow, the governor of South Dakota, says he’s sent invitations to the governors of Iowa, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to come talk about how to share the waters of the Missouri River. Users say their needs for recreational, farming, shipping, drinking water and power plant use of the water conflict and five states have filed suits in the past year against the Corps of Engineers. Janklow’s spokesman Bob Mercer says the Corps got its orders more than half a century ago. He says no one back then foresaw 110-car trains or other developments in society, law and business, and the Corps is caught between conflicting demands. Controlling the river’s flow is blamed for endangering several wild-animal species in recent decades, but Iowa farmers want enough water to grow river-bottom crops and ship them on barges. Mercer says the states have been in a stalemate for decades, and if they don’t sit down to settle it, things will wind up in court. Mercer says “there’s no happy loser in a friendly lawsuit.” Janklow has invited governors of the Missouri River states to meet at his Sioux Falls-area home on August 4th to try working out Missouri River use agreements. The invitation just went out this week and there’s no word yet whether Iowa Governor Vilsack has seen it or intends to go.
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