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Mississippi Sues Fed Over Spillway Opening Harm to Wildlife, Localities

“BILOXI, Miss. — Officials in Mississippi are trying to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission to consult with them before opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway in Louisiana again and flooding the region with polluted river water.

A federal lawsuit filed this week by several cities, counties and groups accuses the corps and commission of violating federal law by opening the spillway more frequently. They say the defendants hurt wildlife and localities by opening it for prolonged periods of time without considering the consequences.

The spillway has been opened 14 times since it was built in the 1930s to help manage Mississippi River flooding and navigation. Of those openings, five have happened since 2011. It was opened in 2018 and 2019, marking the first time the spillway was opened for two consecutive years. This year alone, the spillway was opened twice and left open for a total of 123 days. The corps’ manual plans for spillway openings ever seven to 10 years to stop rivers from flooding New Orleans.”

The Associated Press had the story December 27, 2019.