Yazoo Pumps Ruling a Win for Black Bears
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MSWF) welcome a district court ruling blocking the construction of the misguided Yazoo Pumps in the Mississippi Delta.
The decision is a huge win win for taxpayers and the environment.
The wasteful wetlands drainage project would have cost Americans $220 million
to build and at least a million dollars a year to maintain. This Army Corps of
Engineers (Corps) project would have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres
of wetlands rich with wild game, as well as two national wildlife refuges in
the Mississippi Delta.
The court ruling upholds the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) ability under the Clean Water Act to veto Corps projects that
will have unacceptable adverse impacts on fisheries, wildlife, municipal water
supplies, and recreational areas. NWF, MSWF and coalition partners have been
fighting the Yazoo Pumps wetlands drainage project for more than 20 years and
were intervenors in the lawsuit.
"The district court decision is a major victory for
Mississippi taxpayers and the environment," says Dr. Cathy Shropshire,
executive director of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. "The Yazoo Pumps
project is just more wasteful government spending, a boondoggle that would put
Mississippians on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars for something we
don't need and don't want," she says. "It would have impacted
hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in the area, and it could harm our
threatened black bear population."
The money-wasting Yazoo Pumps project was rejected by the
EPA under the Bush Administration. The veto decision was defended by the Obama
"This ruling is critical not just because it makes sure the
Yazoo Pumps won't threaten wildlife in Mississippi," says Jim Murphy, water and
wetlands counsel for the National Wildlife Federation. "It is also vital in
ensuring EPA can protect wetlands, streams and other waters from harmful
projects when the Corps fails to do so. EPA rarely uses this authority, but
when it does, as in the case of Yazoo pumps, major environmental and fiscal
travesties can be averted."