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Gov. Branstad announces Iowa’s withdrawal from Missouri River Association of States and Tribes

Governor Terry Branstad at Jitters Coffee Bar in Mason City on June 6th, 2011.
Governor Terry Branstad at Jitters Coffee Bar in Mason City on June 6th, 2011.

DES MOINES – Gov. Branstad today announced that he will withdraw Iowa as a member of the Missouri River Association of States and Tribes (MoRAST) effective immediately. Gov. Branstad has sent a letter to notify MoRAST Executive Director Michael Hayden of Iowa’s withdrawal.

In the letter, Gov. Branstad said, “I do not believe that MoRAST is the best avenue to pursue Iowa’s interests and priorities. Rather, I believe more direct discussions with relevant local, state, and Federal partners will allow for enhanced engagement on Missouri River management and better prioritization of flood control over recreational and other uses.

“At the recent MoRAST meeting in Rapids City, South Dakota, MoRAST was not responsive to the perspectives of some states, including Iowa. While seven of the eight Missouri River governors have called for a heightened focus on flood control, MoRAST did not actively pursue this goal at the recent meeting. Moreover, there have been long-standing concerns that MoRAST’s by-laws are too narrowly constrained to adequately represent the diversity of key stakeholders and multiple uses of the River.”

Gov. Branstad cited several examples in the letter of why states must improve the focus on flood control for Missouri River management. Those examples include:

· Flooding caused an estimated $207 million in lost crop sales and related economic activity as over 280,000 farm acres were impacted, according to Iowa Farm Bureau estimates.

· 350 homes met FEMA’s definition of destroyed or major damage.

· Hundreds of miles of Iowa roads were impacted.

· 950,000 trees could die from over-exposure to flood waters, according to Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates.

· The flooding has severely hampered Western Iowa’s economy.

Gov. Branstad concluded by saying, “The negative impacts of Missouri River flooding on communities in Western Iowa were immense, and impacted Iowans deserve a fresh approach to Missouri River management.”

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