Congress Acts to Stabilize the Bluff
“[T]he Natchez Bluff situation is an emergency….Individual homes, businesses, and important, historic sections of a grand old American City are at stake.”
Senator Thad Cochran to Congress, January 20, 1995
“These historic resources are some of the most outstanding in the United States, and they must not be lost….I encourage all my colleagues to support this bill and the idea behind it….To protect these historically significant properties and to prevent potential loss of lives.”
Senator Trent Lott to Congress, January 20, 1995
In the 1990s, Congress reaffirmed the national importance of the Natchez Bluff and Riverfront by enacting the Historic Natchez Bluff Stabilization Act. Appropriations in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 (Public Law Nos. 104-303; 104-206, 105-62 and 105-245) eventually provided nearly $30 million of public monies to the U.S. Corps of Engineers for the purpose of stabilizing the Bluff.
The central feature of the stabilization effort is the huge SOIL-NAILED WALL that is attached to the face of the Natchez Bluff from Clifton Avenue to Rosalie.
There is no question about Congress’ intent in funding this project. The stated purpose was to slow and hopefully prevent further collapse of the historic district and to prevent loss of life.
Nowhere in the legislative history is there a discussion of appropriating public monies to stabilize the bluff in order to create a foundation for private development.
Congress acted to protect, not endanger, the public. The irresponsible development of our public bluff not only thwarts the intent of Congress, but also threatens the integrity of the stabilization project itself. If our Bluff is inappropriately developed, ignoring the warnings of the past and the limitations of the stabilization project, then Natchez will soon be back at the doorsteps of our Congressional leader to beg for more funds to clean up the predictable disaster.