JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. senators from seven Missouri River states have asked the federal Government Accountability Office to examine this summer's heavy flooding throughout the river basin.
The request came in a letter sent Wednesday by 13 senators, who are part of the recently created Missouri River Working Group. It asked the GAO to examine responses to the flooding by the Army Corps of Engineers and factors that affected the corps' decisions. The federal lawmakers also requested any recommendations for improving flood control along the Missouri River.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said Thursday that the working group has kept up pressure over the management of the Missouri River, which flows from Montana southeast to its mouth at the Mississippi River north of St. Louis.
"The letter is a strong statement by senators in the seven states along the river that we want the corps' performance and plans to meet what the priorities are," said Blunt, a Republican from Missouri. "The No.1 priority is supposed to be flood control. Let's see what the corps plans to do to make that the No. 1 priority."
Senators requested that various issues be addressed, including whether the Army Corps fully adhered to its master manual for the river and whether the manual had hindered a timely response to the flooding. Lawmakers also asked the GAO to examine the timing of water releases from upstream reservoirs to determine if they contributed to the flooding.
In addition, the letter asked the GAO to review what role assessments of meteorological forecasts and snowpack played in the flooding and probe the role concerns about endangered species, environmental concerns and flooding on the Mississippi River played in flood control efforts on the Missouri River.