September 2, 2008
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102
Massive Mississippi Wetlands Drainage Project Vetoed
200,000 Acres of Wetlands Saved
The Environmental Protection Agency today vetoed an Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to drain 200,000 acres of wetlands to create more land for agribusiness in northwest Mississippi. The plan, known as the Yazoo Pumps, would have been one of the largest wetland destruction projects ever and was expected to cost $211 million. Though the Yazoo Pumps were intended to stop flooding, data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed that the project would not prevent residential flooding, and that it would take more than 3,000 years to recoup the cost of the project through flood damage insurance claims.
In response, Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Quality Program issued the following statement:
"We welcome this opportunity to thank the Environmental Protection Agency for protecting one of our nation’s richest wetland and aquatic resources. The EPA truly deserves our thanks for killing this unnecessary and economically wasteful Corps of Engineers project. The natural, and free, flood protections offered by these wetlands are far more effective than an expensive pumping project.
"For the benefit of a few special interests, the Yazoo Pumps project would have devastated wetlands that support highly productive fisheries, migratory bird foraging grounds, and vital habitat for wildlife and endangered species.
"By exercising its veto, the EPA has made one of its best decisions in recent years, benefiting the environment, taxpayers and sportsmen."