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‘We’re in a good position’: Hyde-Smith optimistic about future of Yazoo pumps

cindy hyde-smith
Photo courtesy of Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith

Federal agencies have released an initial plan to reduce flooding in the Yazoo Backwater Area, leaving one U.S. Senator optimistic about the future of the highly anticipated pumps project.

The initial proposed plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) include a series of new pumping stations that would drain the water that pools on the floodplain during periods of heavy rainfall. In crop season, the pumps would activate when water nears 90 feet.

Out of season, they would turn on to keep water from exceeding 93 feet. Whatever the season, pumping stations will still operate at a greater capacity than under previous proposals. The limited number of residents whose property falls inside the projected flood zone will be able to receive government help raising their homes, building ring levees, or moving outside the risk area.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., is in favor of the proposed resolution to this issue that has plagued Mississippi Delta residents for decades.

“I think it’s a good plan according to the people that I trust — the scientists behind this — they think it’s a good plan,” Hyde-Smith said on The Gallo Show. “A lot of people have their doubts, but I truly think we’re in a good position, but there’s still a long road ahead of us.”

While the project is just in the initial planning stages, Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, is looking to secure the requisite funding needed to ensure that the proper mechanisms needed to reduce flood risk in the Yazoo Backwater Area are installed.

“With me being on the appropriations committee, I am certainly committed to getting the funding that we need,” Hyde-Smith continued.

In 1941, the federal government authorized the Yazoo Backwater Project to protect the Delta area of Mississippi from flooding. The project included a combination of levees, drainage structures, and pumps. Though the levee and drainage structures were constructed in 1978, the pumps were never completed, resulting in years of backwater flooding that caused devastation in the region.

The USACE is currently taking accepting public comment on the matter and is working to finalize a plan that meets all federal regulations. Watch the full interview with Senator Hyde-Smith below.

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