Congress’s override of President Bush’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes much-needed improvements to waterways that are vital to the transport of U.S. soybeans, has gained the praise of at least one growers group of the biodiesel feedstock.
The Missouri Soybean Association (MSA) is applauding the House of Representatives’ 361-54 override vote and the Senate’s 79-14 vote:
“We are truly pleased to see such overwhelming support from Congress on this critical piece of legislation,” says MSA President Greg Sharpe, a soybean farmer from Ewing, Mo. “The WRDA provides much needed relief to the river transportation infrastructure that soybean farmers depend upon to transport grains. We’d like to specially thank Senator Kit Bond who has provided relentless support and leadership to modernize our river systems’ locks and dams.”
“This long overdue bill will do wonders to revitalize river transportation,” says Dale R. Ludwig, executive director/CEO of the MSA. “More than 50 percent of U.S. locks and dams have aged beyond their life cycle and many are crumbling. In addition, many are unable to handle today’s barges because they are twice as long as when the system was built in the 1930s. When barges must be split, costly delays occur.”
MSA points out that more than three-quarters of U.S. soybean exports move to world ports through the Upper Mississippi and Illinois river systems. WRDA legislation will authorize funding for construction of seven new locks and other critical improvements on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers.