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Hyde-Smith Visits Grammy
By Kevin Edwards

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith stopped by Cleveland last week as part of her tour of Mississippi.

She visited the Grammy Museum Mississippi after spending the morning touring Clarksdale.

“We’re on a recess this week and I just wanted to get to the Delta and visit several things because when you’re thinking about legislation and you’re reflecting upon your state, the Delta has a lot of needs and a lot of challenges.”

Having completed a tour of the museum, she called it “fabulous” and said, “There’s so many things like that throughout the Delta.

“I’m quite familiar with the Delta but I always enjoy coming and to see the progress and to see things change and upgraded. Some amazing things are happening.

“Just to meet with leaders that have vision and how can I help you promote that vision is what I’m about.”

Hyde-Smith and the rest of Mississippi’s congressional delegation have been working for months in Washington to get the paperwork and funding for the Yazoo Backwater pumps that will reduce the threat of flooding for much of the south Delta.

After record-breaking flooding and damage in 2019, Mississippi had another scare over the last couple of months and are anxious for news.

“I have spent countless hours in negotiations with the Corps of Engineers, with EPA, in trying to figure out (getting the pumps installed),” said Hyde-Smith. “Obviously, the pumps are a necessity.”

The Yazoo Backwater pumps have been limbo for over a decade since being vetoed by the EPA in 2008.

The senator is cautiously optimistic about the potential to finally get the pumps built.

“To go back and revisit that and to think how can we bring it to modern day, with the technology we have, the information is different, we can provide more accurate information,” said Hyde-Smith. “To do that, to bring it to the position that we’re looking at today, it’s been quite a challenge but we’re on a very good path.”

She said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Feb. 10 presented in their 2020 plan a provision to purchase land where the pumps will be built.

“We’ve got $6 million to do that. We have $1.5 million to do all the environmental studies that it’s going to take to satisfy everything so we will not be sued by any groups. It doesn’t happen overnight because we don’t want to be in the position that before we get to actually having the pumps that we get a lawsuit filed against us because something was not done. We’re being very careful to do everything precise, methodically, and in proper order to get those pumps installed.

“The Corps of Engineers would not be giving us money to purchase that land if they were not going to put pumps on it. This is like the first step. It will take 12 months to do all of this. We have money that we need for the 12-month span before the second phase.”

“There are no guarantees out there and I’m certainly one not to speak to something I cannot deliver, but we do have in this first phase, we are pointed in a very good direction and I feel more positive about that than I have, but it’s going to take time to get the studies done, to mitigate the property, and the steps of actually putting the pumps in there.”

Hyde-Smith continued her tour of the state throughout the week by wrapping up in Cleveland and heading to Indianola. She said her plans were to head east to Starkville and Tupelo before heading to the gulf coast on Saturday.