Rain helps in Mo. forest fire fight

By GRANT SCHULTE

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Iowa and Nebraska are withdrawing from an association of Missouri River states and tribes because of a dispute over how to manage the river, which flooded large parts of both states last summer.

Representatives for Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad announced Friday the states would pull their membership from the Missouri River Association of States and Tribes.

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said the states are withdrawing in part because of a dispute with Montana over how to manage the river. Iowa and Nebraska have pushed to release more water from upriver reservoirs in the spring to prevent the kind of extended flooding that occurred last summer in both states and Missouri.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer maintains more aggressive flood control measures would infringe on his state’s wildlife and recreation industries. He and Heineman clashed during a closed meeting of governors last month.

Branstad released a statement criticizing the Missouri River Association for not “actively” pursuing more aggressive flood control during the group’s recent meeting.

“Moreover,” he said, “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.”

Heineman said in a statement that “our highest priority is protecting our citizens’ homes, farmers and ranchers, and businesses” and the association was not the best way to achieve those goals.

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