Actions by “extremist environmental organizations trying to take over Washington” and issues of concern “have made the flood control community very nervous,” the Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners said in a statement at a Greenville, Miss. hearing of the Mississippi River Commission.

“If these proposals continue to be introduced and passed by Congress,” said the board’s chief engineer, Peter Nimrod, “future flood control projects will never happen and our current flood control projects may be in jeopardy as well.

“It appears that Washington has forgotten about our mistakes in the past, such as the 1927 flood, and we are moving at light-speed toward repeating these mistakes.”

Issues of concern, Nimrod said, include the moratorium on funding earmarks that Congress has adopted for the next two years.

“Basically, Congress has given up its right to appropriate money, and has relinquished that right to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“OMB always provides a budget that undercuts our projects in the Mississippi River and Tributaries project because they know Congress will provide ‘congressional adds.’ Unfortunately, people think these congressional adds for the MR&T project are earmarks.

“Earmarks account for less than 1 percent of the entire federal budget — but, it is these earmarks that provide money for much-needed, essential projects, and provide jobs for the economy,” Nimrod said. “The federal stimulus money spent the last two years created jobs, built projects, and stimulated the economy.

“This ban on earmarks will cause many projects to be stopped, jobs will be lost, and the economy will fall right back into recession. Congress needs to define what an earmark is, and they need to be able to do congressional adds for our projects.”

The Environmental Protection Agency “has been given too much power under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act,” which allows the agency to veto congressionally-authorized projects, Nimrod said.

“During the early 1990s, due to abuse of the 404(c) power by the EPA, Congress considered removing this authority from the agency. But, the EPA has again invoked this veto power on the Yazoo Backwater Project,” which was authorized 70 years ago by the Flood Control Act of 1941 to protect the Delta region of Mississippi from flooding.