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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:30 PM

Drought threatens to close Mississippi to barges

Source: AP-Excite

By JIM SUHR and JIM SALTER

ST. LOUIS (AP) - After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation's main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market.

Any closure of the river would upend the transport system that has carried American grain since before steamboats and Mark Twain. So shipping companies are scrambling to find alternative ways to move tons of corn, wheat and other crops to the Gulf Coast for shipment overseas.

"You can't just wait until it shuts down and suddenly say, 'There's a problem,'" said Rick Calhoun, head of marine operations for Chicago-based Cargill Inc. "We're always looking at Plan B."

The mighty Mississippi is approaching the point where it may become too shallow for barges that carry food, fuel and other commodities. If the river is closed for a lengthy period, experts say, economic losses could climb into the billions of dollars.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20121129/DA2RV1OO2.html





Chart shows water levels in feet for the Mississippi River near St. Louis



8 replies, 2355 views

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Reply Drought threatens to close Mississippi to barges (Original post)
Omaha Steve Nov 2012 OP
Xipe Totec Nov 2012 #1
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #2
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #3
rwsanders Nov 2012 #8
Little Star Nov 2012 #4
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #5
madrchsod Nov 2012 #6
Judi Lynn Nov 2012 #7

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:34 PM

1. Imagine how bad this would be if we had global warming.... nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:34 PM

2. And so it begins... real world complications of global climate change in the heartland

The nations breadbasket.

This can't end well.

I hope rural communities "wake up" very, very soon to how the Rethugs are lying to them about the realities of ignoring this.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:37 PM

3. Everyone is lying

 

Either about it existing or about how we are going to fix it. No matter who you are listening to, were still up to our heads in a catastrophe

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 11:00 PM

8. Don't count on it...

I was just looking at an article by Mark Morford, something along the lines of "your prius can't save you now". The basic thesis was correct, small individual efforts or half measures aren't going to help.
The comments were appalling. They ranged from deniers, to those arguing which was better the prius or prius C, those criticizing him for writing it because he drives a car too (according to them), etc. I think there were 1 or 2 coherent comments that were actually on topic in the whole bunch.
Its very frightening. But heck, I used to think that better minds would prevail and we'd have a gradually improving environmental policy in this country and then I looked at the sides of every road. There is no place too close to home or too beautiful for someone to trash. Go to any site of scenic natural beauty and someone that took all the effort to get there still took the time to litter or otherwise deface the place.
I had to give up on the environmental field. I'm trying a medical career and I'll contribute to someone who has more energy to fight.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:38 PM

4. Wasn't it just last year they had to flood much of the Mississippi?...

Nope, no such thing as climate change.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:59 PM

5. Is this effecting Power Plants?

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:21 PM

6. here`s the problem....







one barge hold 70 trailers full of grain.

is there enough rail cars and trucks to carry the same amount as the barges do? does the port in new orleans have the ability to handle trucks and rail cars? would the west and east coast ports be able to handle the grain and other products that go through new orleans? those barges come back up the river loaded with commodities that are needed in the heartland.

the cost of the alternatives would cost this country billions.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:26 PM

7. Unbearable. Who would have ever imagined this was possible before we started seeing evidence! n/t

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