Agriculture organizations are calling on the federal government, as the Administration creates its fiscal year 2016 budget, to prioritize construction funding for the Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi River System.
The American Soybean Association (ASA), along with 12 other farm organizations, has signed the letter to President Obama, saying that congressional support for the NESP has been “reaffirmed in the recently enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)”.
The groups are calling for the funding to immediately carry out navigation efficiency improvements and upgrades to locks, including the design and construction of new and larger locks on the Mississippi River System, if feasible.
According to ASA, NESP includes the construction of seven, 1,200-foot locks at the most congested locations (Locks and Dams 20,21,22,24 and 25 on the Upper Mississippi River and La Grange and Peoria on the Illinois Waterway). It also includes ecological system improvement and monitoring.
Earlier this year, the federal government successfully enacted WRRDA with the goal to promote the United States’ competitiveness and economic growth by maintaining a strong transportation infrastructure and efficient flow of domestic and international commerce.
As the government moves to implement WRRDA, ASA is actively working on implementation of priority waterways infrastructure programs and policies that were included in the legislation. The organization, on behalf of its farmers, also submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has initiated a joint letter for agricultural groups to send to the White House urging funding in 2015.
To learn more about WRRDA, click here.