May 23 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After meeting yesterday with President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator nominee, Gina McCarthy, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) announced that he will continue his hold on her nomination. Blunt initiated his EPA hold more than two months ago due to bureaucratic infighting and gridlock by federal agencies involved in the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project in Southeast Missouri.
“The discussion was frank and disappointing. I intend to talk to the White House more directly about who is in charge, because I’m troubled by the fact the administration doesn’t appear to understand how to manage the agencies it oversees,” Blunt said. “In the meantime, I will continue my hold on Gina McCarthy’s nomination until the government stops arguing with the government. I’m not calling on the Obama Administration to spend a dime, or to build a thing. All these agencies need to do is agree on the facts surrounding a very long-standing project.”
On March 18, 2013, Blunt placed a hold on McCarthy after the Obama Administration failed to meet its own deadline to agree on the facts surrounding the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project.
Background Information: On February 27, 2013, Blunt and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Mo.) held a meeting with representatives from EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the delayed St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project.
During the February meeting, the agencies agreed to a self-imposed deadline of March 15, 2013 to resolve their internal disputes and send Blunt and McCaskill an update so the federal government can finally move toward a final decision surrounding the project’s draft EIS. More than two months later, the agencies have still failed to resolve their dispute.
Blunt and former Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.) wrote a letter in September 2012 calling on the Corps to provide answers regarding the project delay. McCaskill previously wrote to the heads of the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2012 demanding that they reach a resolution in 30 days and present a new EIS in 60 days. When the agencies failed to meet the Senator’s demand, McCaskill and Blunt organized the in-person meeting on February 27, 2013.
If approved, the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project would install pumping stations and close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system.
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