By The (Biloxi) Sun Herald:
Dozens of times this year, low water has forced the closure of sections of the Mississippi River to commercial traffic, a disruption of the economy too costly to be ignored.
Imagine the rage — and the immediate reaction — if all truck traffic through the heart of the nation was halted for days at a time — time and again — during the year.
Even when the drought-diminished Mighty Mississippi is open to barges, the water level is often so low that barges must carry lighter loads to keep from running aground and towboats must push fewer barges in order to navigate a narrower channel. Ironically, flooding last year may be exacerbating the impact of the drought this year by having moved more silt and debris into the river channel.
While barge companies’ loads may be lighter, their expenses are not. The cost of crew and fuel remains constant.
All of this contributes to the expense of transporting grains, fertilizer, salt, coal and other cargo up and down the river, a cost eventually paid by consumers.
A crippled Father of Waters is intolerable. That is why more than 40 mayors along the waterway have formed the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. The group has agreed on five priorities:
— Reform of existing and renewal of expired watershed-grant programs critical to disaster mitigation, disaster recovery, sustainable development and ecological rehabilitation.
— Reform of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
— Continued reform of the National Flood Insurance Program to make it cost effective and incentivized toward promoting sustainable development near flood-prone areas.
— Formation of a Mississippi River Congressional House and Senate Caucus for the entire main stem Mississippi.
— Pursuit of increased shipping and trade competitiveness for main stem Mississippi River ports.
The mayors are expected to take their concerns to Congress early next year, where they deserve more than sympathy.
The Mississippi River is a vital economic and recreational corridor running the length of this state’s western edge. Its health is also a concern of the Coast, because much of what goes into the river eventually goes into the Gulf, creating infamous “dead zones.”
We commend the mayors on their initiative, and hope we can soon commend Congress for taking appropriate action.
By The (Biloxi) Sun Herald:
Gov. Bryant’s mulishness costing state
It’s obvious that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant erred terribly when he blocked Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney from setting up a state-run health-insurance exchange.
With voter ID now law, we must protect right for all who are eligible
Voter ID is now a reality in Mississippi. The state plans to begin issuing free voter identification cards in early 2014, just months before the first election in which people will be required to show photo IDs at the polls.
State should make vendor access easier
It’s too hard for companies to track down information on how to sell goods and services to state government and Mississippi should make it easier to do business with the state, a legislative watchdog group said.
New tuition gap may have unintended consequences
As part of the settlement in the Ayers case that challenged segregation in Mississippi’s higher education’s system, the state adopted the same admissions standards for all eight universities.
State, local gov’ts work to support Corps facilities
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains three facilities in our community, the Engineer Research and Development Center, the Mississippi Valley Division headquarters, and the Vicksburg District headquarters.
Lawmaker wants poultry label law
State Rep. Tom Miles says the Department of Agriculture allows chickens slaughtered in the United States to be processed in China with no labeling requirements for products shipped back to the United States, and he hopes to address the issue next year.
Spend wisely every penny of settlement money for BP oil spill
Over the next five years, the state of Mississippi will receive its portion of the financial settlement of criminal charges against BP and Transocean for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The $356 million is a significant amount, and its wise outlay can do much to restore the damage done to the Gulf and our most precious natural resources.
State pension results in eye of beholder
Mississippi’s public employee pension fund saw its financial position improve last year.
Or it didn’t.
Miss. schools need action, latest NEAP scores show
The National Center for Education Statistics released its 2013 Nation’s Report Card on Thursday, and the news for Mississippi was mixed, at best.
Philippines storm sparks memories on Coast, we must send aid
It is difficult to look at the scenes of utter devastation in the Philippines and not recall a landscape of great similarity that we all saw when Katrina swept away the Mississippi Coast on that late August day of fury.
- More Editorials Headlines
- Gov. Bryant’s mulishness costing state