Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative Mayors Promote 2015 Policy Priorities in Washington

2014 Initiative-Interagency Meeting
Over two and one-half days this week, a contingent of 18 mayors representing the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative are meeting with Federal agency representatives, business and environmental leaders, and members of Congress to discuss and promote the Initiative's 2015 Federal policy agenda. Formed in 2012, the Initiative's intent is to create a new and influential voice for the Mississippi River and increase demand for effective river protection, restoration and management in Washington, DC.  Each year since 2013, the Initiative has presented lawmakers and Administration representatives its annual policy platform.  The 2015 four-point policy platform seeks to advance the following priorities:

  1. Provide ample support for trails, byways and bridges in a new, comprehensive surface transportation bill by passing a bill that adequately supports Federal Highway Administration programs funding the construction and maintenance of trails, byways and bridges, and by developing a national strategic plan to address the maintenance and restoration of the nation's structurally deficient and aging bridges while concurrently increasing annual investment levels for bridge repair, reconstruction and renovation.
  2. Fund a flexible USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Watershed and Flood Prevention "Landscape Resiliency" initiative by providing funds within the NRCS Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations account for the "landscape resiliency" effort at the President's Fiscal Year 2016 request level of $200 million, and by specifying criteria to help determine how the landscape resiliency funding will be utilized and by whom (in doing so, assuring local municipal access to those funds for their intended purposes).
  3. Effectively prohibit coal ash from being deposited within flood plains by rejecting passage of legislation that overturns, blocks, or otherwise restricts the implementation of the new coal combustion residuals disposal regulations; by working with states and encouraging them to integrate the coal combustion residuals disposal regulations into their waste management plans; and (should coal ash disposal facilities be permitted within floodplains) by assuring that the risks associated with regulated coal ash disposal within floodplains are significantly reduced.
  4. Support economic development funding priorities for a sustainable River economy, including assuring funding for: America's Marine Highway Program grant account at $10 million; the Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works programs at $5.5 billion; U.S. EPA Section 106 Water Pollution Control Grants Program at $249.2 million; U.S. EPA Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds at $2.35 billion; and the FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program at $200 million.
(Here are links to the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative 2013 and 2014 policy agendas.)

The Initiative is a local government-driven effort of mayors along the main-stem Mississippi River from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. It consists of mayors from more than 60 River cities and towns from New Orleans, Louisiana in the south to St. Cloud, Minnesota in the north. The Initiative is run by a steering committee consisting of one mayoral representative from each of the ten main-stem Mississippi River states, and is co-chaired by A.C. Wharton, Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, and Roy Buol, Mayor of Dubuque, Iowa. The entire roster of the Initiative's cities and towns can be seen here.  

Persons with questions regarding the Initiative or its 2015 policy priorities can contact the organization's Director, Colin Wellenkamp, at or 314-657-3863.

1 comment:

  1. How about ensuring there is good access to towns and campsites to those paddling the entire river?