A former Nebraska governor and senator has reached back in history to propose a future course for the Missouri River.
Former Nebraska Governor and United States Senator Bob Kerrey proposed during a lecture at the University of Nebraska the formation of a Missouri Basin Commission.
“We need a federal law that gives those basin states authority over quality and quantity of that stream flow,” Kerrey told reporters. “And have to debate it; the representatives on the commission debate what they’re going to do.”
Kerry offered the suggestion during the Heuermann Lecture in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Kerrey said research led him to the proposal. Kerrey explained that former Nebraska United States Senator Hugh Butler first proposed the idea shortly after passage of the Pick-Sloan Act in late 1944, which channelized the river and built the six upstream dams that control the water flows on the Missouri River.
The commission would be comprised of the ten Missouri River Basin states. It would take over management of the Missouri from the federal government, in effect, giving the state ownership on how the Missouri is managed.
“It doesn’t produce an environment where there aren’t conflicts. It allows them to be resolved,” according to Kerrey.
Kerry said such a commission would not just give states river management responsibilities, but would give them opportunities to maximize the economic benefits of the river.