Additional letter sent to Army Corps of Engineers seeking information, including reimbursement for state response to opening of Bonnet Carré Spillway and an update on the pumps
Attorney General Jim Hood sent a letter to Congressional leaders on Monday seeking immediate funding to compensate individuals, businesses, and governments for the economic harm caused by flooding in both the Mississippi Delta and the intrusion of freshwater into the Mississippi Sound. In addition, General Hood is seeking funding to begin the restoration of natural resources and a comprehensive environmental study of the Mississippi Sound, and he is asking Congress to amend a law to give Mississippi a voice on the Mississippi River Commission.
Last month, General Hood called a meeting with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Major General Richard Kaiser, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies Director Dr. Moby Solangi, Department of Marine Resources Executive Director General Joe Spraggins, and counsel for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann to discuss the water’s impact on both the Sound and the Delta, following the Corps’ decision to re-open the Bonnet Carré Spillway a second time this year. The group agreed that a state and federal collaborative environmental study of the Mississippi Sound is essential, and they learned that the Corps was communicating with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding solutions for flooding in the Mississippi Delta.
“Collaborating across agencies and expertise on this dire issue is important to achieve a solution to such a multifaceted problem,” General Hood said. “The freshwater diverted from the Mississippi River through the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway has decimated the saltwater creatures in the Mississippi Sound. It is the BP disaster all over again. Our Gulf Coast fishermen, the seafood and tourism industries are being victimized again. Our oyster reefs are wiped out. It will take years to restore them, while leaving hundreds out of work. I respectfully ask Congress to immediately appropriate money to keep these industries afloat. The federal government also owes a duty to help those residents of our South Delta, who have been flooded for months and lost their homes and livelihoods.”
General Hood also requested Congress amend 33 U.S.C.A § 642 to ensure a civilian appointee from Mississippi sits on the Mississippi River Commission. Although the Mississippi River makes up the entire western border of our state and greatly impacts Mississippi due to its location on the Gulf of Mexico where the river empties, the state has not had a civilian appointee on the Mississippi River Commission in decades. This change would offer the state fair representation in discussions prior to spillway openings and other decisions surrounding flood management that directly impact the people of Mississippi.
In addition to the previously mentioned letter to Congress, General Hood sent a letter on Monday to Maj. Gen. Kaiser following their June meeting and requested the Corps’ plan to address the following:
- Reimbursement to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources for their expenses in responding to the increased opening of the BCS;
- Expansion of the current limited testing being conducted by the Corps into a more immediate and multidimensional study of the harm to marine resources in the Mississippi Sound, including but not limited funding of tests by the Department of Marine Resources and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies;
- Reimbursement to Mississippi regions for the loss of natural resources and the economic harm from that loss; and
- Incorporation of Mississippi entities into river and flood management.
General Hood requested a response from General Kaiser by August 15.
Attorney General Jim Hood Press Release
The two letters are below: