Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is blasting an EPA decision to stop new efforts to construct a flood control project for the Yazoo Backwater Area of the Mississippi Delta. She blames Congressmen Bennie Thompson for destroying the project, accusing him of taking one position in his district, but working against the project in Washington.
“This is an absolutely terrible day for the people who live in the Mississippi Delta and an even sadder day for the country when an agency like the EPA refuses to do the right thing for the people. I also give credit where credit is due. Congressman Bennie Thompson destroyed this project, taking one position in his district but working against it in Washington.
During an interview with SuperTalk Mississippi last week, we asked her about the letter Thompson wrote to EPA Administrator Michael Regan in August, asking the agency to dig into their decision to reverse a past veto of the project during the Trump Administration.
“If I intentionally wanted to kill something, I would probably do something like this. But who in the world wants to do something like that?” she told us. She went on to say that she hears so much from the Biden Administration about environmental justice. “You talk about environmental injustice? More than 71% of the area is minority, 30% living in property. 94% of the homes that would no longer be subject to this one year flood are minority occupied. 94%! So if you’re talking about environmental justice…”
“This EPA action is an abuse of discretion and couldn’t be more arbitrary or capricious. It also opens the door to a host of legal questions that should, and will likely, be challenged.
“I will continue to work for the people of the Delta to try to salvage this project, which should have been built decades ago. I do know we absolutely do not need empty platitudes from the EPA on a ‘path forward’ and environmental justice. We also do not need our own working against a project that will ultimately protect lives and the environment from repeated catastrophic flooding.”
Hyde-Smith has made the Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps project a priority since becoming a U.S. Senator in 2018. The Senator was instrumental in securing funding for pre-construction planning and other activities on the New Proposal for the Yazoo Area Pump Project.
Environment and Energy News published a story on Thompson’s letter to Regan in November:
Another piece on the project was published in August:
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement in response to actions taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse its guidance regarding the Yazoo Pumps Project:
“I am deeply frustrated the EPA has chosen to reverse its guidance on the Yazoo Backwater Pumps and leave the people of the South Mississippi Delta in harm’s way.
The federal government authorized the pumps 80 years ago, but the project has been held up by bureaucrats and red tape ever since.
Today’s action means that roads will continue to be impassable, deer and other wildlife and plant life will die, hypoxia will kill fish, small businesses will shut down, and residents will continue to be forced to leave their houses.
In fact, 94% of the homes that this project would save from the 100-year floodplain are minority-occupied. It amounts to an environmental injustice.
The government has made a promise to address the flooding problem in Mississippi. Today’s decision makes it harder to fulfill this promise and will delay a solution. However, I intend to continue fighting to achieve approval of this much-needed flood control project.”