Janklow calls for flood control update Gov. Bill Janklow said Sept. 24 that Congress and the White House need to work together on updating the 1944 Flood Control Act that paved the way for the Missouri River dams and reservoirs in South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.
Janklow said the Missouri River's management is "getting tied up in knots" because the 1944 law sets out a set of priorities that don't always mesh with other laws passed decades later by Congress such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
"We saw what happened to our national forests. We cannot let that happen to the Missouri River," Janklow said. "We delay at our peril."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility by law to operate the river to meet the competing needs of flood control, irrigation, hydropower, industrial and municipal users, recreation, fish and wildlife, and navigation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the responsibility by law to work to preserve species that have been determined to be threatened or endangered, such as the pallid sturgeon and two bird species, the piping plover and the least tern, which are part of the river's ecosystem.
"This is exactly the problem facing the White House right now. They're trying to reconcile the Corps position and the Fish and Wildlife position. I don't know what will be decided. But no matter what they do, somebody probably will take them before a federal judge and challenge the decision. Rather than spend years tied up in court, we need to take the time up front and get to the root of the problem," Janklow said.
Other laws that affect the Corps in its operation of the river include the Clean Water Act, the Native American Graves Protection Act and Repatriation Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
"This is why I have asked President Bush for a national review of the laws and regulations affecting the Missouri River. It's been 60 years since Congress started working on what became the Flood Control Act of 1944. It's time for a Missouri River Act of 2004," Janklow said.