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Missouri Challenges Water Diversion Plan

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - The state of Missouri claims a plan to divert water from the Missouri River to an upstream reservoir will harm the state and will hurt transportation, shipping, agriculture and other industries. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed suit in Washington, D.C., federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of the Interior in an effort to stop the plan.

The suit claims the plan violates the federal National Environmental Policy Act by not considering alternatives or impact. Koster is seeking a ruling prohibiting the Corps from continuing with the project until it can bring it into compliance with federal law.

"Under the Corps plan, Missouri stands to lose water at a time of year when it's direly needed for a multitude of uses, including navigation and drinking water supplies," Koster said in a statement. "The Corps has neither considered any alternatives to this plan, nor the environmental impact it would have on Missouri and other states downstream from the project."

The Corps' plan, called the Northwest Area Water Supply Project, would divert 15,000 acre-feet of water each year into a reservoir in North Dakota, the suit states. The plan would negatively affect commercial navigation on the river, which is a multimillion-dollar industry in Missouri, and would negatively affect more than half the state's residents who get their drinking water from the river, Koster claims.

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