DELTA QUEEN RIVERBOAT VOTE - The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday on legislation that allows The DELTA QUEEN steamboat built in the 1920s to resume taking passengers up and down the Mississippi River and tributaries like the Arkansas River. Lee Powell, executive director of the Delta Grassroots Caucus, has been advocating for the legislation. He told Arkansas Public Radio the steamboat resuming operations would create 150 jobs and spur tourism and bring broader benefits.
"It educates people about the history of our region, it exposes people to the natural beauty of the region," explained Powell. "Bbecause if you go traveling through the Mississippi Delta and the Arkansas and Ohio Rivers, it enhances your appreciation of our natural resources and tends to make people deepen their commitment to environmental preservation,"
The Delta Queen was taken out of service in 2008 when Federal Fire Safety Exemptions expired. It currently is undergoing renovations in Houma, Louisiana. It’s return to service on Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers is expected to generate $100 million of economic activity. The legislation provides an exemption to the 1966 Safety of Life Sea Act that prohibited large wooden ships from carrying passengers on overnight trips… the Delta Queen Caucus says the Delta Queen is mostly steel has advanced safety features. The bill awaits President Trump’s signature.