EAST ALTON, Ill. -- Illinois’ senior U.S. senator will convene a meeting early next week about the low Mississippi River and concerns it soon may force a slowdown or shutdown of shipping on that corridor.
Sen. Dick Durbin’s office says he will host the private gathering Monday in East Alton to discuss efforts to keep the river open to barge traffic.
Durbin says invitees will include members of the state’s congressional delegation, Gov. Pat Quinn and representatives of the agricultural, shipping, coal and petroleum industries.
Months of drought have left water levels up to 20 feet below normal from St. Louis to Cairo (KEHR’-oh). The problem was worsened last month when the outflow from an upper Missouri River dam was cut, meaning far less Missouri River water flows into the Mississippi.