Yazoo Pumps project receives green light after clearing environmental hurdles

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 7:56 PM CST
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Efforts to build pumps to remove floodwaters from the lower Mississippi have crossed a major hurdle.

Outgoing EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, Governor Tate Reeves and other state and federal leaders were all at the Army Corp of Engineers headquarters in Vicksburg on Monday to announce that the Corp Of Engineers now has the green light to begin the Yazoo Backwater Pump Project.

E.P.A. Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, “We understand that 9 of the past 10 years, the backwater area has experienced significant flooding that has caused hardship on lives and threatened property of people in the region.”

Part of the funding for the project would come out of the Corps budget, but additional funding from Congress would be needed to complete it. Previous concerns about impacts to wildlife and the environment now in the past after a new pump design and location were put in the plans.

Colonel Robert Hillard of the Corp of Engineers said, “From now through planning it, through construction to getting it operational to be a realistic, it’s roughly about a four year process.”

Once built, the pumps would keep backwater levels at 87-feet during flood events, keeping it off thousands of acres of farmland where, in recent years, millions of dollars in crops were lost.

The pumps would also keep water out of hundreds of homes and keep people who have campaigned for years for the pumps out of danger.

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