90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Drought And The Mississippi

American drought and the mighty Mississippi. Running low. We’re looking at climate change, commerce and the fight over water on the Big Muddy.

This Nov. 28, 2012 photo provided by The United States Coast Guard shows man-made dikes along the shoreline of the Mississippi River South of St. Louis. (AP/Coast Guard)

This Nov. 28, 2012 photo provided by The United States Coast Guard shows man-made dikes along the shoreline of the Mississippi River South of St. Louis. (AP/Coast Guard)

The mighty Mississippi knows floods and the mighty Mississippi knows drought.

Right now, it’s deep in drought country.  2012 was the hottest year on record in the US.  So dry crops shriveled in the fields.  Worst drought in 80 years.  Not good news for the Mississippi River.

South of St. Louis, it’s so shallow now that barges can barely travel.  A world of grain, coal, iron, gravel, looking for a way to move.  And big tensions over the water that remains, and where it needs to flow.

This hour, On Point:  we’re looking at drought, climate, commerce – and the shrunken Mississippi.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gerald Galloway, professor of engineering at the University of Maryland, focuses on water resources policy and management.

Martin Lipinski, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute  and professor of civil engineering  at the University of Memphis.

Craig Philip, CEO of Ingram Barge Company

Justin Schoof, professor and chair of Geography and Environmental Science at Southern Illinois University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg News “Barge operators on the Mississippi River say the worst drought in 80 years may put at risk gains from emergency dredging and rock removal aimed at keeping the nation’s busiest waterway open at least for this month.”

Discovery News “A new year has started, but last year’s drought is still afflicting the United States. The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 73 percent of the contiguous U.S. is still in drought. Rain has slaked the thirst of parts of the Northeast and Southeast, but dry conditions expanded in other regions.”

USA Today “The commercial shipping industry has warned since November that if low water makes moving cargo too dangerous, a 200-mile stretch of the Mississippi between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill., would be effectively closed. If that happens, says Debra Colbert of the Waterways Council, which represents shippers and ports, billions of dollars’ worth of goods and thousands of jobs would be affected, rattling the entire U.S. economy.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 26, 2015
Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo, center, a former Evangelical Christian youth minister, and his wife, Marty, right, mingle with students as they wait for the start of a forum at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP)

More Americans are turning away from religion. We’ll look at how to live a moral life without it.

 
Feb 26, 2015
This Feb. 20, 2015 photo shows an arrangement of peanuts in New York. (AP)

New breakthroughs on peanut allergies – treatment and prevention. And a question: are we too clean for our own good? Plus: did giant gerbils from Asia really bring the bubonic plague to Europe?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment
 
The 87th Academy Awards, As Heard On On Point
Thursday, Feb 19, 2015

Want the inside scoop on who will win big on Sunday’s 87th Academy Awards? (Look elsewhere, sorry). But we’ve got great shows on some of the year’s best movies, all right here.

More »
Comment