What is in this article?:
- Levee Board appeals decision on Yazoo pumping station
- EPA had no veto authority
- Large scale reforestation included
The Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners has filed an appeal of a March federal court decision that threw yet another monkeywrench in a 70-year battle over a giant pumping station that would alleviate flooding in the lower Mississippi Delta near Vicksburg. The board filed the action with the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Yazoo Backwater Project pumping station was first authorized by Congress in 1941, but seven decades later the project remains embroiled in legal battles.
EPA had no veto authority
“We believe that the EPA had no legal authority to veto the project,” Nimrod says, and “we asked the judge for oral arguments.”
But on March 28 this year, U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock ruled against the board without granting oral arguments.
The board was opposed by a coalition that included the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, which said the project had the potential to destroy important wetlands habitat.
In reviewing the decision, Nimrod says the board “found what they believe are errors within the ruling, and voted unanimously to appeal the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.”
The Yazoo Backwater Project, he says, “is a model project that will not only provide flood protection, but will vastly increase benefits on every environmental resource category, such as wetlands, terrestrial, aquatic, and duck habitat through reforestation of the flood plain.
“The residents of the Mississippi south Delta just want what was promised to them 70years ago — it’s time to complete this last phase of flood protection for the Mississippi Delta.”
Lewis Jones, attorney for a King & Spaulding team of environmental lawyers working pro bono, said “the fact that the EPA chose to exercise its veto power for only the 12th time in its history reflects how potentially damaging it believes this notorious, ill-conceived project to be.”