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Reps McCollum, Thompson, Bush, Cohen, and Yarmuth Introduce Legislation to Restore and Protect the Mississippi River

June 27, 2021
Press Release
Bill will establish Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative (MRRRI)

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) announced the introduction of legislation to coordinate restoration and resilience opportunities up and down the Mississippi River corridor, the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Act (MRRRI) alongside original co-sponsors Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03).

“I grew up along the Mississippi River in South St. Paul, Minnesota,” Rep. McCollum said. “The river was and continues to be a working river that is vital to transporting commerce. But for decades, no one cared for the river, and it became a source of pollution that was slowly killing the river ecosystem. Today, because people who cared stepped up to protect a river that is also the source of drinking water for 20 million Americans, the Mississippi is now a place for families to enjoy and an important flyway for migratory birds—all while supporting jobs and economic growth up and down the river corridor. But from the northernmost headwater communities to the Mississippi Delta, the health of this great river continues to be at risk. A coordinated federal effort is necessary to restore the health of this vital waterway. I’m proud to introduce legislation that will help us protect America’s River for the next generation.”

“It is an absolute necessity to address ongoing issues with one of North America’s greatest river systems,” Rep. Thompson said. “By prioritizing the Mississippi River, we perform a great duty in providing a healthy atmosphere for our ecosystem, safe drinking water for millions of Americans, and valuable support for America’s economy. Stretching along the entire western border of Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, the Mississippi River is our aquatic highway for commerce and wildlife habitat. I am proud to support Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s restoration and resilience initiative.”

“Protecting the health of the Mississippi River is an issue of racial, climate, and economic justice,” Rep. Bush said. “This legislation will prioritize Black, brown, and Indigenous communities on the frontlines of climate change by reducing pollution and restoring wildlife habitats that strengthen our communities’ resilience to climate change. The Mississippi River is the backbone of our region — we must protect our vital waterway and the communities that rely on it for drinking water, jobs, and recreation.”

“I applaud this multi-state initiative that will help to ensure that adequate investment is directed toward one of our nation’s greatest rivers and source of drinking water and jobs for millions of Americans,” Rep. Cohen said. “The Mississippi River is the reason my hometown of Memphis exists. It’s important that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes its mandate seriously and continues to improve the health and resilience of this vital American waterway.”

“The Mississippi River is vital to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving not only as our state’s western border but also as a source of safe drinking water and an economic and recreational driver for our entire region,” Rep. Yarmuth said. “By investing in the restoration and resilience of this river, its many tributaries, and its countless plant and animal species, we are protecting our public health, economic security, and shared environmental future. I’m proud to support this legislation to help the mighty Mississippi and I thank my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, for her continued leadership on this important issue.” 

Background:

  • The non-regulatory Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative (MRRRI) invests in building resilience to increased flooding and storms, improving water quality, restoring wildlife habitat, and stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species. MRRRI will fund community-driven projects, with dedicated investments in those communities that have born the highest costs of environmental degradation.
  • The bill text can be found here.
  • View Library of Congress resources on the cultural impact and history of the Mississippi River here.
  • View a MRRRI fact sheet here.
  • Find more information at mccollum.house.gov/MRRRI.

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