Several barge companies that operate on the drought-stricken Mississippi River have asked Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to call for a presidential disaster declaration. The companies, including three based in Paducah, say doing so could be a first step in getting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from the Missouri River to improve the Mississippi’s flow. Crounse Corporation, James Marine, Ingram Barge, Marquette Transportation, and AEP River Operations made the appeal in a letter sent late last week.
Company officials say that on the day the letter was written, 15 towboats were waiting to travel an especially shallow portion of the Mississippi with barges partially filled in order to navigate the channel. Beshear has so far declined to ask for a presidential disaster declaration.