October 26, 2020

Opinion: Thompson should be flood plan’s biggest support, but he isn’t

There have been plenty of times we have been critical of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for what has been perceived as forgetting — rather ignoring — Vicksburg as a part of his congressional district. It seems the only time the Congressman visits Vicksburg is for a random town hall meetings during an election year.

And while this time we are thankful for his support for a plan long proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place pumps in the delta to drain water from the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers, we are disappointed by what appears to be lukewarm support and what appears him coming late to the party.

In comments to The Associated Press last week, Thompson said the plan — which is now being heavily supported by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and leaders in Jackson — should be part of a larger plan. Agreed.

But, the quote “even if we had the money for the pumps, it would take about four years to get installed,” sadly only served to pour water on a burning issue.

Thompson then said, “if you are going to pump it, where is it going to go? We are going to have to work with the people downstream to assure them that if we’re successful, we won’t just be moving the problem 50, 60 miles down the river.”

Congressman Thompson, we understand those concerns and questions, but we are also certain that those much smarter than us, more experienced than us and far more educated on the impact such pumps would have, have already answered those questions long before making the suggestion to the Bush administration, who later killed the plan.

Some of the brightest minds around are on the problem. What we need now, Congressman, is not someone to downplay the solution, but rather someone to be the loudest advocate for solutions. And, given this problem is affecting your congressional district, we would ask that you, sir, be its biggest champion.

If it is going to take four years, let us not waste any more time on deciding if it is needed.

Instead, let us start that clock need so that no more homes are lost, livestock are killed and farmland ruined.

The Mississippi and Yazoo rivers are not going to sit idly by while we get our act together. It’s time we get to work.