February 24, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of the Interior, challenging a plan to divert significant amounts of water from the Missouri River to an upstream reservoir. Koster says the Northwest Area Water Supply Project violates federal law, will have a negative environmental impact in Missouri and hurt transportation, shipping, agriculture and other industries in the state that depend on healthy river levels.
"Under the Corps plan, Missouri stands to lose water at a time of year when it's direly needed for a multitude of uses, including navigation and drinking water supplies," Koster said. "The Corps has neither considered any alternatives to this plan, nor the environmental impact it would have on Missouri and other states downstream from the project."
Koster's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., claims that by not considering alternatives or impact, the project is in violation of the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The lawsuit asks the court to rule that the project violates NEPA and seeks an injunction to stop the project until the Corps can bring it into compliance with federal law.
Koster says commercial navigation is a multi-million dollar industry in Missouri, but it has suffered in recent years as lack of water in the Missouri River has shorted the navigation system. In addition, more than half of Missouri residents get their drinking water from the Missouri River, and a reduction in available water could negatively impact them as well.
The Northwest Area Water Supply Project would divert 15,000 acre feet of water each year into a reservoir in North Dakota. Koster's lawsuit says that would "cause actual and imminent harm to Missouri citizens."
Lead: Koster says the water diversion plan will hurt Missouri's drinking water supply:
OC: Missouri families