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Cochran questions canceling of Yazoo Backwater Project

MISSISSIPPI DELTA — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said he is confident that the State of Mississippi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies are doing all they can to prepare Mississippians for widespread flooding this week.

Cochran, who serves on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Army Corps of Engineers, indicated that he would pay close attention to the flood mitigation resources that may be required in the Mississippi Delta after the flooding ends.

At a hearing last month, Cochran questioned the Corps’ plan to meet ongoing flood protection needs in the lower Mississippi Delta if, for instance, federal funding for the Yazoo Backwater Project is eliminated. All unobligated funding balances for the project would be cancelled under the President’s FY2012 budget request to Congress.

“The flooding we will see in the Delta this week could very well accentuate the risks of simply canceling flood control undertakings like the Yazoo Backwater Project,” Cochran said.

Last week Cochran discussed the Corps’ preparations with Col. Jeffrey R. Eckstein, commander of the Corps’ Vicksburg District.

Cochran said, “Mississippians understand that seasonal flooding can be a fact of life, but this year is proving to be exceptionally bad. I appreciate all the advance work being done by Gov. Barbour, local officials and the Corps to prepare the Mississippi Delta for an onslaught. The Corps of Engineers has the immediate responsibility of trying to manage the Mississippi River and its tributaries during this significant flood threat. In the end, however, many agencies must cooperate to help recover homes, businesses, farms and basic services after the floodwaters recede.”

Source: Sen. Thad Cochran

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