Iowa’s foul financial picture may be the final straw that forces the state to drop out of a regional compact made up of seven states along a key waterway. The Missouri River Association of States and Tribes, or MORAST , is holding its quarterly meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, this week.
Iowa D.N.R. spokesman Bernie Hoyer says Iowa officials have been considering bowing out for some time. Hoyer says: "One of the members has proposed that (Iowa) should get out of it and I think some of the reasons for it is that we’ve been having trouble keeping up with our dues and the financial problems that Iowa has right now is inhibiting me, for example, from attending the meeting in person. We’re going to attend on the telephone."
Hoyer says Iowa leaders have already had concerns about the direction of the group. He says, "There’s a question as to how we can participate and I think there’s question as to whether MORAST has responded to all of Iowa’s concerns." Hoyer says he thinks it’s better for Iowa to stay involved with the regional group.
He says, "MORAST is in the perfect position as a vehicle for speaking and for helping to make compromises and helping to clarify the benefits that various states would see from the various activities, whether that be energy, water supply, recreation, transportation, flood protection, whatever."
The organization was formed in 2006 by a joint resolution of the governors of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The group’s website says it was "formed to help resolve issues of concern to the basin states and tribes, to serve as a forum to foster communication and information exchange…and to facilitate management of the natural resources of the
Missouri River Basin, including water resources, fish and wildlife while considering the impacts to the economic, historical, cultural and social resources."