Historic Mississippi River flood destroying millions of farmland acres with polluted, pesticide-ridden flood waters

Thursday, May 12, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Mississippi River, flooding, health news

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(NaturalNews) As record-breaking Mississippi River flood waters crested this morning near Memphis, Tenn., many other towns and cities along the river are awaiting record-breaking flood levels expected to arrive later this week and early next week. The Washington Post has reported that three million acres of mostly farmland have already been flooded in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi -- and much of this water is highly polluted with chemicals, pesticides, and other dangerous pollutants that are now surging down towards the Gulf of Mexico (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-...).

Flood waters continue to rise all along the Mississippi, including in Natchez, Miss., which today saw its portion of the river rise to 58.3 feet, breaking the all-time 1937 record of 53.04 feet. Vicksburg, Miss., Baton Rouge, La., and New Orleans, La. are all expected to see record-breaking crests late next week, some far exceeding previous record flood levels. And the US Army Corps of Engineers may release several more levees in Louisiana within the next few days.

"I really can't compare it to anything," said Andy Prosser, head of marketing at the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), concerning the flood damage that has already occurred (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527...). "This is unprecedented territory."

Many small ports along the Mississippi River have already been shut down as facilities and equipment are now completely submerged under water in many areas. At least three nuclear power facilities along the river are also threatened by record flooding, including two plants in Louisiana, and another in Mississippi. And as many as ten major oil refineries all along the river, which represent nearly 14 percent of US oil refining capacity, are also threatened for shutdown (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/11/us...).

Nineteen riverboat casinos along the Mississippi River, which generate up to $13 million a month in taxes for state governments, have either already been shut down, or will be shut down by the end of the week. Roughly 13,000 people who work on these riverboats are now temporarily out of work ((http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110511/D9N...).

And as far as food crops are concerned, flooding has postponed or canceled plantings of rice on 300,000 acres of farmland in Arkansas, which represent ten percent of total rice acreage in the US (http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNew...).

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