The U.S. Senate today joined the House in voting to override the President’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act. Western Iowa farmer Warren Kemper says the legislation is a major step toward improving nearly two dozen locks on the Upper Mississippi River.
"They’re deteriorated to the extent of where something drastic could happen at anytime," Kemper says of the river’s infrastructure. Most locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi were built in the 1930s. Kemper, who farms near Wapello in Louisa County, says it’s been seven years since Congress passed the last water resources bill.
Kemper says he’s been to Washington, D.C. dozens of times for the Iowa and National Corn Growers Associations lobbying for the legislation. Lawmakers will now need to tackle how to pay for the improvements. Kemper predicts the lock and dam upgrades will help cut delivery time in half from Minneapolis to New Orleans…and greatly benefit farmers.
"Water is the most efficient way there is to move grain," Kemper says, "a tug boat pushing 15 barges replaces 870 trucks on the highway. These improvements will speed up the movement of grain so we can live up to contracts with customers overseas on delivery time." The 2007 water resources act addresses modernization of five locks on the Upper Mississippi River, and two locks on the Illinois River.