Miss. Senator pressed Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory for action.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing in which Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory discussed the work the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is doing to improve the health of the environment.

During the hearing, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) highlighted the ongoing environmental and economic devastation resulting from severe floods in the Mississippi Delta and the need to work quickly to advance a flood control solution.

The Mississippi Senator mentioned the severe economic conditions that could be alleviated by making progress on a flood control solution. Wicker also emphasized that the devastating flooding in the South Delta is primarily manmade.

Wicker shared statistics about the six counties most affected by the flooding near the proposed Yazoo Pumps and the percentage of each that live in poverty:

  • Sharkey County— 30.3%
  • Isaquina County— 43.3% 
  • Humphreys County- 33.3%
  • Yazoo County- 31%
  • Warren County— 19.2% 
  • Washington— 27.7%

“The president has made environmental justice central to his environmental and climate agenda, and I understand you’ve been asked about that earlier,” Wicker said to Mallory. “But would you agree that the statistics that I have read to you argue strongly for looking at this proposed project in terms of environmental justice?”

Mallory agreed with Wicker’s assessment of the severity of the flooding in the South Delta, noting that it is indeed a manmade problem. She also said that it is high on her list to follow up on this project because she hasn’t had a chance to talk to teh communities or even community leaders.

“I will say Senator that is actually one of the things that’s high on my list of follow-up on this project because I have not yet had a chance to talk to the communities or even community leaders about either the project or just their own situation,” Mallory said.

Mallory also committed to providing an update on the project’s scheduling by mid-July.

The Yazoo Backwater Pumps project is a longstanding priority for Senator Wicker. Wicker has publicly championed a proposal from the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and relief for the region.

In November 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stopped the effort to construct flood control pumps for the Yazoo Backwater Area of the Mississippi Delta.

“The government has made a promise to address the flooding problem in Mississippi. Today’s decision makes it harder to fulfill this promise and will delay a solution,” Wicker said in November 2021. “However, I intend to continue fighting to achieve approval of this much-needed flood control project.”