The Undead Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project 

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A Stinkin’ Resurrection
The Mississippi Public Service Commission finally drove a stake through the gasifier heart of the Kemper County Lignite Plant.  So customers won’t pay for most of its $7 billion cost.  But the PSC may allow $300 million more in gasifier collateral costs for its turbines running on natural gas. These toes are still sticking up. The PSC should bury them too.

Now that this boondoggle has been mostly buried, another is being exhumed.  That’s the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project.  It was first proposed in 1941.  It was finally killed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008.  Its tomb was sealed over in 2012 when the Fifth Circuit upheld the District Court decision against the Mississippi Levee Board’s challenge to the EPA ruling.  But a bony hand is emerging from the tomb.
It’s being resurrected by Section 433 buried deep in the 2018 draft Farm Bill.  It’s being called forth like Lazarus by Mississippi’s powerful Senior Senator and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Mississippi Levee Board, the Delta Council, their constituents, potential contractors and suppliers are lobbying for its resurrection.  The US Army Corps of Engineers has stacked its bureaucracy with true believers to shepherd it. The Corps has backed the project since it was first included in the Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries Project in 1941.
The MR&TP was authorized in 1928 to control flooding on the lower Mississippi.  The Corps has spent $13 billion on it and says it has saved $354 billion in prevented flood damage.  That’s government math: real expenditures and imaginary savings.  It was used to try to justify the first pumps project.
You can expect the same kind of math to justify the resurrection.  It was used to justify Kemper.  It too was sanctified by powerful politicians.  It

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