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Hyde-Smith committee approves $20.7 million to advance Yazoo Pumps

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Screengrab from Tax Gap hearing May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Thursday announced committee passage of an appropriations measure that includes funding to support flood control and water infrastructure projects in Mississippi, including $20.7 million to advance the Yazoo Backwater Area Project.

Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that developed the FY2022 Energy and Water Development (EWD) Appropriations Bill, which the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Wednesday, 25-5.

“The decades of neglect to the Yazoo Backwater Area Project have cost Mississippians far too much.  More recent severe storms and flooding highlight the immense amount of work that needs to be done,” said Hyde-Smith, who has made the long-delayed flood control project a priority since arriving in the Senate in 2018.

“Including funding in this bill to move the pump project closer toward construction is critical, and I will continue to fight to see that it becomes law.  There are more hurdles to clear, but I am hopeful we’ll get it done,” she said.

The USACE Vicksburg District is currently utilizing $11.2 million, which Hyde-Smith worked to secure in FY2021 appropriations, to carry out preconstruction, engineering, and design activities.

Elsewhere in the FY2022 EWD Appropriations Bill, Hyde-Smith also supported funding for additional USACE projects in Mississippi, including water and wastewater infrastructure assistance, and research conducted at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg.  In addition, the bill would continue funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, and energy-related research conducted at Mississippi State University.

Notably, the Senate bill outlines $130.9 million for 29 authorized USACE projects and activities in Mississippi, including work on flood control reservoirs (Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada and Sardis Lakes), dredging of ports in Pascagoula, Gulfport, Vicksburg, Greenville and Rosedale, and operation, maintenance, and wildlife mitigation activities on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

Hyde-Smith said the bill also provides $12.9 million not included in the President’s budget request for the Delta Headwaters Project to construct flood control, bank stabilization, and erosion reduction measures in the eastern hills region of the Yazoo River basin.  In addition, the bill provides another $12 million for the Upper Yazoo Projects to construct channel and levee features along the Yazoo, Tallahatchie, and Coldwater Rivers in the northern portion of the Mississippi Delta.

“This funding would support repairing damages sustained in numerous sub-watersheds by the excessive rainfall and flooding in June, and improve flood mitigation in this region,” Hyde-Smith said.

In addition to the EWD measure, the Appropriations Committee also approved the FY2022 Agriculture Appropriations Bill and the FY2022 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill.  All three measures are now available for consideration by the full Senate.

The Senate FY2022 EWD Appropriations Bill text is available here, while the report accompanying the measure is available here.

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