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Keeping the Delta From Flooding: Yazoo Backwater Project Still Stalled, Cochran Wants Review

YAZOO CITY, Miss.–Imagine having a house on the Yazoo River. Cotton fields are lit up white all around. Frogs croak at night, birds chirp by day and nature seems to be smiling on the ole homeplace. Then, a flood. Everything is washed away into the river. That’s just what the Yazoo Backwater Project was started to prevent, but it’s been stalled by the feds and Sen. Thad Cochran says he wants answers.

The project has actually been a long time coming. It was started in 1941 and would keep millions of acres in the Delta from flooding with the use of giant pumps. The project has been largely completed, but was stalled by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008.

“I am writing to request that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water conduct an independent peer review of EPA Region IV’s recommended determination in 2008 to veto the final components of the Yazoo Backwater Area Project,” said Cochran in a statement.

Completing the project would protect an additional 650,000 acres.

“Those at risk deserve clarity from the EPA regarding its concerns about the project’s potential impact on certain waters of the United States.  Also, the public deserves certainty that EPA was correct in its estimates.”

Cochran said he is astonished the EPA will not allow the completion of the project, even though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers believes it is the best way to protect the area from disaster.

“Despite the various challenges and differences of opinions regarding this issue, citizens of the lower Mississippi Delta still need the flood protection the federal government has promised since 1941.  It is imperative that your Agency look further into Region IV’s veto determination, and begin proposing viable alternatives of its own until the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers can agree on an effective solution.”

You can read all about the Yazoo project here: http://1.usa.gov/1v4QCra

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