Sen. Josh Hawley

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who visited flooded areas in Holt County in March, has introduced legislation that would affect the management of the Missouri River.

The U.S. Senate took action Thursday to pass disaster relief that would help Northwest Missouri. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley wants to pass legislation that would help avert future disasters.

Hawley has introduced two measures that speak to the management of the Missouri River.

“The Army Corps, they’re just not managing the river well,” Hawley told News-Press NOW on Thursday.

“We can’t afford to do this year after year. We can’t have these kinds of floods with this kind of river management that devastates our river communities like the flooding is doing right now.”

One of the bills, the Missouri River Flood Control Prioritization Act, serves as companion legislation to a measure offered in the U.S. House by North Missouri Congressman Sam Graves.

It spells out congressional guidance for the Army Corps of Engineers to make flood control its top priority in river management.

“Do you know, the Army Corps told me that they really don’t have priorities?” Hawley said. “They don’t have any ranking system of what’s the top priority and what’s not. We need to make flood control the No. 1 priority.”

Missouri’s other U.S. senator, fellow Republican Roy Blunt, has signed on as an original co-sponsor of this bill.

The other measure calls for the creation of an advisory council made up of members from states in the Missouri River watershed. It would have a role in revisions of the Army Corps’ master manual.

“My bill would allow the president to appoint (two) members from each state in the Missouri River region,” Hawley said. “It would give farmers and local communities a say and a voice.”

The freshman senator, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, had planned to leave later Thursday for a fact-finding trip to the southern border. However, he postponed the trip to return to Missouri and try to coordinate assistance for those affected by storms.

“I’m going to go as soon as I can here, look at the damage myself, talk to folks and do whatever I can to help,” he said.

Ken Newton can be reached


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