U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith expressed her determination this morning to make repairs in the Vicksburg National Military Park and to move the backwater pumps project forward.
Hyde-Smith was in Vicksburg for the dedication of the new Thad Cochran Center for Technology & Innovation.
“This is an emergency situation,” she said of the slides and road damage in the park. “It is something that happened suddenly, and it is something that no one was expecting.”
“The sacred damage is monumental,” she added of potential unearthing and displacement of soldier’s graves.
The senator said she would be speaking with U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt when she returned to Washington “to get things back as quickly as we can.”
“I assure you that we will be all over this to try and get things repaired,” Hyde-Smith reiterated. “It is a sacred incident.”
Hyde-Smith also addressed the backwater pumps project.
On Feb. 10, the U.S. Corps of Engineers released its budget. Hyde-Smith said the budget includes the funds to purchase and mitigate land for the backwater pumps and to complete the studies necessary to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s halt on completing the 40-year-old project to lessen flooding in the South Delta.
“We have money to do the environmental studies that it will take to get there,” she said. “We are confident, and we have very good news that we are on the first phase in getting those pumps in place.”
“It’s just going to take time,” she said.
Estimates are that once the project gets the final go-ahead, it will get four to five years to complete the pumps.