ACTION ALERT: Dump the Pumps; Save the South Delta Wetlands

August 3rd, 2023 - by Louie Miller / Sierra Club - Mississippi

ACTION ALERT: Tell the Army Corps of Engineers
To Reject the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project
Louie Miller / Sierra Club – Mississippi

(August 2 2023) — Yet again, the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has announced an unprecedented move to resurrect the destructive Yazoo Backwater Pumps in Mississippi’s South Delta by fast tracking efforts to approve the project.

If allowed, the Yazoo Pumps project would drain and destroy up to 200,000 acres of wetlands, some of our nation’s richest habitat that supports over 450 species of birds, fish and wildlife. Even worse, the project would not protect communities and only benefit a small number of wealthy agricultural corporations.

Communities plagued by flooding in the Mississippi Delta deserve smart safeguards that keep people and property out of harm’s way, such as elevating homes and roads, and compensating farmers to restore cropland to wetlands!

ACTION: Act now and make your voice heard by 08/07: Tell the Army Corps to oppose the Yazoo Pumps and secure commonsense, effective nature-based flood solutions that benefit communities, nationally important wetlands, and wildlife!

First authorized by Congress in 1941, this ‘zombie’ project would drain wetlands so that a small number of large landowners could make more money. In fact, the 2023 proposal concluded that 80% of the project benefits would be for industrial agriculture by draining wetlands while 19 billion gallons of water a day would be pushed onto highly vulnerable downstream communities. [1]

The Yazoo Pumps would be so harmful that the George W. Bush administration vetoed the project in 2008 through the Clean Water Act to protect tens of thousands of acres of nationally important wetlands. This decision was supported by tens of thousands of Americans, including an overwhelming majority of Mississippians.

ACTION: Take 5 minutes to submit a comment and join the movement to dump the Yazoo Pumps!

The Corps’ own studies show that the Pumps will not protect communities from flooding — under the Corps’ last Pumps plan, 83% of the lands that flooded in 2019 would still have been underwater with the Pumps operating. [2] Even more outrageous, the Corps’ latest proposal would double-down on the “Trump Pump” by increasing the size of the Pump by 78% making this the largest hydraulic Pump in the world! [3]

Instead of reviving the estimated $1.4 Billion-dollar, fully federal taxpayer funded, Yazoo Pumps, the Corps should advance effective, environmentally sustainable nature-based and nonstructural flood solutions for those affected in Mississippi’s South Delta — Take action today to protect our waterways and submit a comment to the Army Corps by August 7!

Thank you for protecting our environment for future generations!
Louie Miller is the Sierra Club’s Mississippi State Director.

[1] US Army Corps of Engineers, 2007 Environmental Impact Statement, Yazoo Backwater Area Reformulation Main Report, Table 26 at 130, Oct 2007.
[2] US Army Corps of Engineers, 2020 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Appendix C (Tables) at Table 5.3; Appendix G (Engineering) at 135, Table 2-26, Dec. 2020.
[3] US Army Corps of Engineers, 88 Federal Register Notice 43101, Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Project, July 6, 2023.