JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Legislation now awaiting President Trump’s signature could affect the “One Lake Plan” for flood control on the Pearl River.
Both the House and Senate have now passed “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.” It says before the One Lake Plan can move forward, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must determine that the project is technically feasible, economically justified, and environmentally acceptable. It also says those behind the plan must address any potential negative effects downriver.
The agency behind the project, the Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood & Drainage Control District, says it has been working toward those standards all along. Keith Turner, attorney for the District, says the bill “does not add any additional requirements for the project.”
The District is currently working on its final report to the Corps, seeking approval to make the Pearl deeper and wider through Jackson, and to build a weir south of Interstate 20. Sometime after the report is submitted, the Corps will decide whether to approve it.
Some environmental groups, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), and others have expressed concerns about the project and its potential impact on the environment. The District is required to address their concerns in its report to the Corps.
The plan’s supporters say it would provide the first significant flood-control apparatus on the Pearl in central Mississippi since the catastrophic Easter flood of 1979. They say it would also open new areas along the river for economic development and recreation.