In reply to the recent announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be reopening the Bonnet Carré Spillway for the third time in fifteen months, Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson issued the following statement:
“I was extremely disappointed to indirectly hear about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Though eventually given the opportunity to ask a question through a window dressing meeting the morning of April 2, 2020, the decision to make the recommendation without input from Mississippi had basically already been made. During the meeting, I asked the Corps the following question:
‘The MS Sound is still reeling from the three openings in the past two years, and these impacts still haven’t been adequately measured or considered, yet you’re about to make it even worse by again using the BCS this year. While you claim you do not have the authority, have you even requested a change in operating guidelines to help diminish those impacts by at least allowing a partial opening of the Morganza?’ The Corps did not address my concerns and stated it could only give a limited response due to pending litigation.
Opening the spillway for an unprecedented three years in a row will severely impact the economy and the ecology of the Coast, and will undoubtedly create more devastation for surrounding communities. This is completely unacceptable. I am asking the Corps to immediately reconsider its decision and to stop any further action until Mississippi has a seat at the table.”
In the eyes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the opening of the spillway will release water from the rising Mississippi River into the Mississippi Sound, ultimately preventing any levees from overflowing into the New Orleans area.
However, the problem lies in the fact that the freshwater being released into the sound is killing off marine life, as well as negatively affecting both the fishing and tourism industries along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
This is not the first time that the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office has had issue with the opening of the spillway as then-Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann filed a lawsuit, in which Watson has now taken over, against the Corps of Engineers in December of 2019.
To hear more of what Watson has to say about the opening of the spillway and his future plans to put a halt to it, listen to his recent interview on The JT Show: