FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tricia Braid
Bloomington, IL – Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois’ senior senator and Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate, worked diligently to maintain commerce on the Mississippi River in late 2012 and early 2013 while low water levels threatened Illinois’ main transportation opportunity to move grain to the marketplace. For his efforts, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) offers their gratitude and thanks.
Over half of Illinois’ corn is exported out of the state with much of it traveling along the Illinois and Mississippi River’s to reach its final destination. This export lifeline is vulnerable as the 2012 drought has lowered water levels and made efficient barge traffic difficult. The continuation of commerce was further threatened by the rock pinnacles near Grand Ridge and Thebes which jutted into the river eliminating safe travels over that area.
According to Paul Taylor, President of the ICGA, “Senator Durbin stepped in, improving the lines of communication between the Army Corps of Engineers and industry to eliminate the rock pinnacles quickly. Durbin also elevated the issue, showing the importance of the river transportation system to the President and to the national media. His efforts minimized the cost to farmers by providing them the best chance to get Illinois products to market.”
The Mississippi River still may close to barge traffic, but farmers understand that working together with Senator Durbin, significant and efficient progress was made to keep the river open.
“The lack of rain and low water on the Mississippi will continue to have an impact, but in the face of a historic drought, ICGA knows that only Mother Nature can now rectify the situation,” said Taylor. “We remain grateful to Senator Durbin for his leadership and assistance on this issue.”