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Upper Mississippi River Dredging Funds Released After Five-Month Delay

November 22, 2019   David Murray, Waterways Journal

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Two members of Congress from Minnesota announced November 14 that they had secured the release of $100 million in dredging and restoration funds for the Upper Mississippi River to address the after-effects of this spring’s devastating flooding and the resulting higher-than-usual levels of silting.


Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) announced on her website that she, Rep. Betty McCollum (D. Minn.) and Rep. Ron Kind. (D-Wis.) persuaded the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release the money. The three members had sent a letter on September 17 to the OMB urging that the money be released. The funds were included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, which was signed by President Trump in June.


In the September 17 letter, the members noted that statutory language required the OMB to report to Congress on the status of the funds within 60 days, or by August 11. That deadline passed with no report.


Craig said, “Farmers, families and communities across my district depend on the Mississippi River for their economic livelihoods. I am proud to have helped to secure essential funding that communities and businesses rely on to export their goods, drive economic growth and effectively respond to this year’s devastating spring floods.


“Unfortunately, these funds were delayed—but now, this aid will help ensure the economic viability of the many agricultural businesses and farmers who have faced extreme weather, difficult market conditions, and other factors that threaten their long-term success.”