By Brad Walker, Rivers Director November 2, 2015
The Missouri River is home to two federally listed endangered species and many more threatened and unlisted plants and animals that make up a rich and incredibly important ecosystem, which provide large, complex, but calculable services and benefits to humans. The restoration of the damage done to the Missouri River by decades-old Corps projects is being manipulated by a committee largely hostile to this Congressionally-required goal.
Congress designed the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) (affectionately pronounced as “Mr. Rick”) so that the majority of Committee members (from Congress’ list of possible stakeholders) represent special interests invested in working against the Committee’s own goal of replacing habitat lost from Corps projects.
Next, those special interest stakeholders co-opted the Charter creation, adding process requirements so as to render its own Committee impotent. These include the impossible requirement of 100% stakeholder consensus as shown by two votes separated by three months, as well as the bloating of Committee size to a paralyzing 29 stakeholders representing 16 mostly anti-environmental interests.
Finally, the Committee has dithered away most of the last two years listing every possible negative impact on humans that this already-authorized and legally required restoration project might have. Not only should this project be exempt from this extensive analysis, this assessment has in effect already been done and the Corps is now supposed to be mitigating the damage to the river. Instead, river restoration is condemned to paralysis-by-analysis and death-by-committee.… Read the rest