Gov. Quinn working to increase Mississippi River low levels

December 6, 2012

Angelica Robinson

(WBEZ/Angelica Robinson)
Governor Quinn said the low levels of water in the Mississippi River can have a negative impact on Illiniois agriculture.

Governor Pat Quinn said he’s “working night and day” to increase the Mississippi River water levels.

After months of drought, the water levels are extremely low. Many of the state’s products like grain and coal are transported by the river.

If the drought continues the rivers could reach historic lows by the end of December.

Quinn said it’s a problem that calls for immediate action.

“We’ve asked the Army Corps of Engineers to initiate immediately blasting and dredging to make the river a little deeper,” Quinn said. “We’ve also asked that the Missouri River be allowed to have more water put into the Mississippi.”

But Bob Anderson, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), said the laws that dictate the operation of the Missouri River doesn’t allow them to release water.

“They cannot legally let the water go to benefit the Mississippi river because they have their own economic purposes for the Missouri River basin,” Anderson said.

The USACE is working on a plan to blast river rocks using explosives to deepen the Mississippi River.