WASHINGTON, D.C. - On May 9, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) joined Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in introducing an amendment (S.Amdt. 862) to the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601) to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing their proposal to restrict access to Missouri River water and charge users for water taken from Missouri River reservoirs in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
The Corps' water fee proposal is an unprecedented power grab, said Thune. When the Corps flooded land along the river in order to build the dams on the Missouri River, they did so under the agreement that residents would have access to water from the Missouri for various purposes. The Corps' new proposed fees for surplus water usage infringes on the agreement the Corps made with residents along the Missouri to allow them access to water that is legally and historically theirs. The Corps' actions would have numerous negative impacts on individuals, tribes, businesses, and water systems in South Dakota, and I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting this common-sense amendment to prevent this power grab.
In September of 2012, Thune was joined by Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee outlining their concerns about the Corps' proposal and urged the committee to schedule an oversight hearing on the issue.