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Senators ask Obama to protect river

ST. LOUIS | A group of U.S. senators is asking President Barack Obama for an emergency declaration in an effort to keep barges moving on the drought-stricken Mississippi River.

A spokesman for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told the Associated Press that senators from Mississippi River states are seeking a directive that would increase the flow of water from a dam on the upper Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi. They also want faster removal of rock formations on the Mississippi that impede barge traffic when water is low.

The Army Corps of Engineers began reducing the outflow from an upper Missouri River dam in South Dakota on Friday.

Shippers say the already-low Mississippi River could get so low that barge traffic will be severely restricted or even halted by mid-December.

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