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'Big Trouble' If The Mississippi River Keeps Getting Lower

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500 Million Tons Of Shipping May Grind To A Halt If The Mississippi River Keeps Getting Lower

Robert Johnson|Aug. 16, 2012


The Mississippi River is vital to American commerce and communities from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota, but the drought of 2012 is putting the river and those who rely on it in jeopardy.


John Yang at NBC reports that just one year after the flooding that put much of the Midwest under water, the Mississippi is now at levels lower than most people can remember.

It’s so low that barges must carry less freight, and salt water from the Gulf of Mexico is seeping into New Orlean’s drinking water.

Yang talked to a third-generation shipping co-owner in Vicksburg, Miss. who said “It’s getting near critical. “Without more rain, we’re heading into uncharted territory.”

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The American Waterways Operators says the river sees $180 billion of goods travel its surface every year. Five-hundred million tons of goods, according to NBC, that includes 60 percent of U.S. grain, 22 percent of its oil and gas, and one-fifth the nation’s coal. “It would take 60 trailer trucks to carry the cargo in just one barge, 144 18-wheeler tankers to carry the oil and gas in one petroleum barge,” NBC reports.

From rt : Mississippi on the brink of total shut down due to record drought

Barges are already forced to carry less to keep from running aground, and still up to 20 barges have gotten stuck already this year.

The situation is like nothing seen in over 50-years and to get an on-the-ground understanding of what’s happening, check out Yang’s story here.

The Economic Collapse blog writes:The Mississippi River is also absolutely crucial to the economic success of this nation.Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to all of us. If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy.So there you have it .If the Mississippi river continues to dry up we are in ‘big trouble’.

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