On the consequences of poor waterway management…

“If you look at just the lower Mississippi River Valley, almost 60 percent of the nation’s agriculture products flow through the ports from Baton Rouge to the mouth of the (Mississippi) River.

“In the last 25 days, we’ve had five ships that have grounded. More than 40 have grounded in the last four years.

“In Lake Charles Parish, the channel is getting down to about 150 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The port there is the nation’s eleventh busiest in the country.

“The port in south Louisiana is one of the busiest in the hemisphere. We have to” keep the channels open.

Failure to do so leads to “short-loading” ships, which costs “about $1 million per foot.

“Currently, we have ships being grounded at 42 feet. (The channel) is supposed to be maintained at a width of 750 feet – now, around 300 feet -- and 45 feet deep.

“There are also 13 crossings, or low areas, on the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to the Port of New Orleans. These are supposed to be maintained at 60 feet. Currently, they’re at 45 feet, or less.”