The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauds the Senate in its 79-14 decision to overturn President George W. Bush’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), enacting this long-awaited legislation.

“When it comes to this issue, nothing has been easy,” says NCGA President Ron Litterer. “After almost two decades of work by corn growers, millions of dollars spent on studies, seven years of waiting on the legislative process, a presidential veto and then a veto override by the U.S. Congress, we finally have achieved authorization to modernize seven locks on the Upper Mississippi River System. Once again, our grower members demonstrated their influence and commitment to the Water Resources Development Act by contacting their members of Congress and urging them to overturn the president’s veto.”

Corn growers have been long-time advocates for improvements to our inland waterway system and have fought for passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), Litterer says.

“The WRDA enactment illustrates the power of perseverance,” says Warren Kemper, member of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team and board member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “For nearly a decade, I have worked tirelessly with fellow growers and congressional staff on this legislation. I share this triumph with the countless individuals who waged this battle with me.”

NCGA extends its thanks to the members and staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under the leadership of Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK). Additionally, corn growers extend a special thanks to Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), a true champion for lock modernization on the Upper Mississippi River System.

“This is a great day for the future of flood protection, super-efficient port and river transportation and environmental restoration,” says Sen. Bond. “This success would not have been possible without the broad-based coalition of industry, labor and agriculture led by the corn growers who had the vision and patience to achieve victory.”

Overturning the president’s veto is just a permission slip to seek funding through the annual appropriations process. For several years, NCGA has worked to secure pre-construction dollars for the Upper Mississippi River System projects, but the real work now begins with a full-court press to obtain construction dollars through the annual appropriations process, Litterer said.