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
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
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.

 
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.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
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 »
1 Comment