St. Johns Bayou Study Delayed By Another Week
Three government agencies say they will need another 7 to 10 days to complete an environmental impact study for the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service set a self-imposed deadline to complete the EIS by last Friday. They failed to do so.
Senator Claire McCaskill says the sticking point is how many acres of mitigation are needed. Government estimates range from 5,000 to 120,000 acres.
The Missouri Democrat says there are some mitigation opportunities at Big Oak Tree State Park.
“We could do some mitigation there and allow another ingress and egress from the river that would allow wildlife an opportunity to not be compromised by this particular project,” McCaskill said. “So I’m hopeful that we can get the project done in a way that is environmentally responsible. And there’s no reason that we can’t.”
Republican Senator Roy Blunt says he will put a hold on the new EPA administrator’s nomination until the agencies release the environmental impact statement.
“This a case where the government is arguing with the government about things that should be easily worked out, and they have failed to work them out,” Blunt said.
The project would plug a gag in the Mississippi River levee near New Madrid and install pumping stations. It was first proposed when Dwight Eisenhower was President.