Pumps No More?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may pull the plug on plans to build a $220 million flood-control system in the Yazoo River Basin. Environmentalists warned last December that The Yazoo Backwater Project—devised to control flooding along the Yazoo River Basin—would destroy thousands of acres of wetlands.

National Wildlife Federation CEO Larry Schweiger called the plan a "monumental boondoggle," and called on the EPA to take a stance on the project. This month they did.

"This proposed project is expected to impact as many as 67,000 acres of some of the richest wetland and aquatic resources in the nation," EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin Grumbles said in a statement, adding: "The EPA is committed to keeping the nation's waters clean and protecting our wetlands."

EPA critics say they're surprised the federal agency adopted the cautious stance, considering its lagging record on environmental preservation under the Bush administration.

"We certainly didn't see this coming," said Cathy Shropshire, president of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, which opposed the project. "We're not about to say we knew the EPA would agree with us on the project. As always, we consider it a pleasant surprise."


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