Delta Council Calls for President-Congress to Reach Accord AFTER MONTHS of negotiations between the White House and the Congress, the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the Delta Regional Authority, the state and local ports on the inland waterway system and the Gulf Coast, Natchez Bluffs, recreation and flood control improvements on Sardis Lake, and flood control projects in the Mississippi Delta, was vetoed by the President.

"According to our information, the President vetoed the measure due to a fundamental disagreement with Senators and Congressmen from the Missouri River region who continue to support navigation improvements and maintenance on the Missouri River system," stated Kenneth Hood, President of Delta Council from Bolivar County. Delta Council expressed grave disappointment in the gridlock between the President and the Congress, due to the critical funding needs for harbors, ports, environmental restoration and flood protection projects which are part of the Energy and Water Resources Appropriations measure.

"It is an irony that our Senators worked so diligently to reach an accord with the White House regarding the Delta Regional Authority and other important components in this bill, but due to a strong appeal by national environmental groups, the Administration has hardened their position on the entire bill which has to do with Missouri River navigation," added Hood.

The Energy and Water Appropriations Measure, which passed the House and Senate with bi-partisan support, includes $20 million for the Delta Regional Authority, essential funding for the levee-raising project on the structurally deficient reaches of the Mississippi River Levees, and funding for flood protection measures which extend to more than 20 communities throughout the Mississippi Delta.

As a senior member of the appropriations committee, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran will play a pivotal role in trying to persuade the White House to reconsider its position for reaching compromise.

"There are many vital appropriations provisions in this bill for the Delta and the benefit of the State of Mississippi, so we are hopeful that the Administration can appease those who oppose the Missouri River navigation maintenance work, without stopping the whole bill," concluded Hood.