"EPA senior scientists say they were shoved aside last year by Trump appointees racing to revive a massive Mississippi flood control project vetoed in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration, according to documents obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act.
In a Jan. 19 memo, the scientists said EPA political leadership failed to heed their warnings about the Yazoo Pumps project’s impact on a large swath of wetlands in the Mississippi Delta. The project, they said, failed to meet Clean Water Act requirements for protecting wetlands that provide wildlife habitat, filter pollution and buffer flooding.
At issue are changes EPA leaders made to a letter the agency sent to the Army Corps of Engineers last fall weighing in on the Corps’ draft environmental assessment of the project along the Yazoo River, a tributary of the Mississippi River.
Authorized by Congress in 1941, Yazoo Pumps — a combination of levees, flood gates and pumps — has been touted by proponents as a critical means of preventing frequent flooding of hundreds of thousands of acres in the Mississippi Delta. But critics say the pumps — the last part of the project to be built — would drain tens of thousands of acres of ecologically important wetlands."