Of the hundreds of projects we have come across, the Yazoo Pumps stands out as one of the most (if not the most) environmentally damaging. This winter over 1,700 GRN members sent comments to the Corps opposing the pumps.
Wednesday the Vicksburg Post ran an article, where the Corps suggested that comments from people outside the Mississippi Delta carried less weight. It’s disconcerting that an official from a federal agency would hint, as he did, that voices from people throughout the country are somehow less valid.
We have joined with many organizations and citizens to voice our concern not only about the incredible threat to wetlands, but also the amount of federal tax payer money going to fund the project. Yes, some of these groups are national, but many are regional as well as local, and all have members that are impacted by the Yazoo Pumps project in one way or another.
When a national treasure is at risk, people from across the nation deserve the opportunity to speak their voices (and over 20,000 did). There’s also the issue of federal tax money. Typically locals have to pay a percentage of the project costs, but Thad Cochran removed that requirement the for Yazoo Pumps Project in 1996 legislation. That means that the cost, over $220 million, is on the shoulders of the federal tax payer. Is the Corps arguing that your voice counts less even though your tax dollars are going to fund the project?
It’s also disturbing that the Corps would say that this project is “environmentally friendly.” As the article noted, “Benjamin Grumbles, the EPA's assistant administrator for water, said in a statement the project as proposed would affect 67,000 acres of ‘some of the richest wetland and aquatic resources in the nation’ and the Corps has not exhausted other methods for flood control in the Delta.”
I am a downstream resident and a federal taxpayer. As someone who gets her drinking water from the
Dump the Pumps!
Stephanie Powell is the Outreach Associate for the GRN's Healthy Waters Program