Missouri Courts Deny Request to Stop River Release

March 27, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said late Tuesday it will begin a 48-hour release of water into the Missouri River from an upstream dam at midnight. Efforts earlier by state of Missouri to stop the release failed.

Attorney General Jay Nixon lost two attempts in federal court Tuesday to stop the annual March release. Nixon, who filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to stop the release, was joined by Gov. Matt Blunt and Sen. Kit Bond in citing concerns that the release could exacerbate flooding from torrential downpours last week.

But U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton said she found no evidence to show the corps was not following the law. She said the corps can change its decision to release water, or adjust flows, if warranted.

Late Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Nixon’s appeal of Hamilton’s decision.

“Within the time constraints available to us, we exhausted our legal options,” Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, in his capacity as acting governor, late Tuesday urged President Bush to direct the corps to cancel the release

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