“The Mississippi is much mightier than even we realized,” said MRTCI co-chairman, Roy Buol, mayor of Dubuque, Iowa. “The river’s importance to our region and nation is indisputable. We must now move forward strategically and purposefully to protect this national resource and economic force.”
Tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing are the top three industries along the river, according to MRTCI. They are responsible for $366 billion in annual revenues and support more than 1.15 million jobs.
All of these industries, the group said, survive on clean water in the river. Therefore, MRTCI will begin to introduce clean-water programs up and down the river and implement clean-water goals.
The group will use the economic impact figures to better advocate for the people, towns, and cities along the Mississippi River.
The group also announced Wednesday that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will be in the delegation MRTCI will send to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December.
Wharton did not attend Wednesday’s meeting of the MRTCI in St. Louis. But when the COP21 trip was announced earlier this year, here’s what Wharton had to say:
“With years of experience with droughts, floods and hurricanes, the Mississippi Mayors have some expertise with climate disruption and resilience,” Wharton said. “That’s why we are joining the global discussion by partnering with a nation that’s leading the way and attending a key UN meeting.”