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Published November 29 2012

Lawmakers to discuss critically low Mississippi River levels with corps

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers from Mississippi River states hope their meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers addresses the waterway's critically low levels, which threaten to bring barge traffic to a halt.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois will join colleagues from middle America during a meeting Thursday in Washington with Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy.

At issue is the Army Corps' recent move to reduce flow of the Missouri River, which feeds into the Mississippi. Lawmakers believe that could make already low levels of the Mississippi worse, potentially squeezing commerce on that river.

Grain, corn, coal, petroleum and chemicals are all typically shipped on the river. That's partly because the volume is so high that using trucks or trains would be far more costly.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.