Bloomberg Aug 26, 2014
"Missouri River Could Ease Grain Bottleneck on Railroads"
The Missouri River might help alleviate grain backups caused by railroads hauling more crude oil in the northern U.S., though federal spending on infrastructure and changes in water allocations may be needed, said Michael Toohey, head of Waterways Council Inc.
A boom in shale oil fueled by the rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has pushed domestic production to the highest in 27 years, taxing rail systems needed to get both crude to refineries and grain to food producers.
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Quad City Times Opinion page Aug 18, 2014
Editorial: Time to plug 'potholes' in nation's inland marine highway
When Chad Pregracke visited our offices earlier this month, he had in tow a couple of the people whose job it is to help move the nation's economy on America's inland waterways.
The trio, which included Rick Calhoun, president of Cargill Carriers, and Debra Colbert, senior vice present of the Waterways Council Inc., might seem like strange bedfellows. But the founder and driving force of Living Lands & Waters assured us that it is not only environmentalists who rely on, respect and protect this invaluable resource that includes our own Mississippi River corridor.
It is, he said, "all about balance." That's why user-conservationists include recreational boaters and anglers and commercial fishermen, and the businesses which rely on what the Waterways Council calls our "inland marine highway" to move the freight that not only feeds the nation, but helps drive its economy.
The highway metaphor is an apt one -- to a point. Consider that more than 60 percent of grain exports, 25 percent of domestic petroleum and petroleum products and 20 percent of coal move on America's rivers. Here in Illinois alone, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, waterways and ports support 48,195 Illinois jobs, with a total impact to the state of $6.4 billion a year.
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