Iowa Public Television


Missouri River Controversy

posted on January 20, 2006

Montana's Attorney General this week urged the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a case addressing the allocation of Missouri River waters to upstream and downstream states.

Attorney General Mike McGrath filed a friend-of-the-court brief, in support of a petition by North Dakota and South Dakota. McGrath argues that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in St. Louis, incorrectly held that barge traffic and other commercial uses can be given priority over agricultural and recreational uses in the upstream states.

His brief notes that even the Army Corps of Engineers --charged with managing the river --acknowledges that all uses of the Missouri River system deserve equal consideration.

McGrath's brief also says that the Flood Control Act of 1944 requires all river uses to be treated equally. The act is the federal law that authorities management of the river.

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