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Report: Corps Hasn't Justified New Locks

posted on October 8, 2004


The Army Corps of Engineers still hasn't justified its desire for building new, longer locks on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, the National Research Council said in a report released this week.

The council's report found that grain exports are unlikely to grow enough to justify a $1.46 billion replacement of aging river locks, or gateways. The council is part of the National Academies, which includes the National Academy of Science.

"There are no overwhelming regional or global trends that clearly portend a marked departure from a 20-year trend of steady U.S. grain export levels," the report said.

Corps officials, who said they would review the panel's recommendations, have said the longer locks are necessary for barges to transport grain and other commodities more quickly to Gulf of Mexico ports. The nation's leading corn and soybean producers  Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri  rely on the rivers as the cheapest route for shipping to export markets.


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