FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Coalition to Protect the Missouri River Submits Comments on Corps’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Hermann, MO – April 25, 2017 – The Coalition to Protect the Missouri River (CPR) submitted final written comments on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Draft Missouri River Recovery Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to Major General Scott A. Spellmon, Commander of the Corps’ Northwestern Division.
Dan Engemann, Executive Director of the CPR said: “There’s plenty of reasons to be concerned with the DEIS alternatives. First and foremost, all but one of them have the potential to reduce flood control, which is problematic for our members. While we are not endorsing any particular alternative, we do believe the Preferred Alternative as specified in the DEIS strikes a better balance between stakeholder interests and species recovery.”
In its written comments, the CPR points out that all alternatives except Alternative 1 (No Action) would relax current flood control constraints as specified within the Missouri River Master Manual, meaning elevated river stages are likely for extended periods of time, depending on the alternative chosen. The CPR believes that any future flow changes must be implemented solely by revision of the Master Manual, of which it is opposed to because of the harmful impacts that could be incurred by stakeholders.
The CPR is quite alarmed with the DEIS’ lack of hydrologic and economic modeling of the alternatives. Impacts of the alternatives were studied, but not modeled for only four levee sites, leaving stakeholders largely in the dark of the true impacts of increased flows. In the CPR’s comments, Engemann wrote: “The CPR wants to be abundantly clear in our position – hydrologic modeling and peer reviewed economic impact studies must be completed before any flow management action is implemented.”
Further, the CPR expressed concern about adaptive management actions on the Missouri River that may be outside of the Master Manual and the Corps’ Record of Decision expected in August 2018. In its comments, the CPR urged the Corps that decisions of this type should only be made after a full National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and independent peer review that includes complete modeling of stakeholder impacts. A copy of the CPR’s public meeting commentary can be found here: bit.ly/2pYXv3n
Established in 2001, the CPR supports responsible management of Missouri River resources and the maintenance of congressionally authorized purposes of the river, including flood control, navigation and water quality and supply. The CPR also supports responsibly managed and properly balanced habitat restoration for endangered or threatened species.