At a recent hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW), Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL-D) exhibited leadership in advancing the case for long-overdue improvements to the locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Senator Duckworth, a member of EPW, used the Committee’s hearing on the nomination of R.D. James to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, to highlight the importance of waterways infrastructure improvements. Senator Duckworth’s Q&A with Mr. James can be found at time stamp 1:21:27-1:25:53.
“As we discussed, our inland waterways system in the United States gives us a competitive advantage across several important industries,” Senator Duckworth said. “If we don’t invest in our waterways we’re going to lose that advantage and markets will inevitably turn toward other systems, more efficient systems oftentimes, in other countries.”
“We agree with Senator Duckworth’s assessment one hundred percent,” said Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Aron Carlson. “In this time of sustained low commodity prices, we really can’t afford to give away any more value to our international competitors.”
“The fact that the Senator asked questions about improving waterways infrastructure, and that she specifically mentioned the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program, proves to us that she is committed to representing the best interests of Illinois corn farmers when it comes to accessing export markets,” Carlson added. “Trade matters to Illinois corn farmers, and without improved waterways, our ability to trade with export customers is seriously impaired.”
ICGA supports the nomination of Mr. R.D. James to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. He is a farmer and more than that, he comes with a thorough background of river issues.
ICGA supports that Congress fully fund the so-called NESP legislation. Moreover, the Association continues to lobby the Trump Administration to include improvements to locks and dams on our nation’s waterways infrastructure system to be included in President Trump’s overall Infrastructure Plan.