- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2013

Sen. Roy Blunt will place a hold on Gina McCarthy, the White House’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, until the Obama administration sets a time frame for its study of a long-delayed levee project in southeast Missouri.

“Once again, the government is arguing with the government while nothing is accomplished,” said Mr. Blunt, Missouri Republican, blaming poor communication and coordination between federal agencies for the lack of progress on the proposed St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project.

The project would close a gap in the Mississippi River’s levee system, lessening the potential for major flooding in parts of southeast Missouri. Before it can be built, the EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service must complete a detailed environmental impact statement.

The deadline to provide senators with an update on the environmental study was Friday, a date that came and went with no word, according to Mr. Blunt and his Missouri counterpart, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“We’re incredibly disappointed and frustrated that a final resolution is still caught up in ridiculous and unnecessary government bureaucracy. These agencies missed their own self-imposed deadline to get on the same page and provide us with answers,” the two senators said in a joint statement.

It’s the latest setback for the administration’s Cabinet nominees. On Monday, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said he’ll block Thomas E. Perez, the president’s pick to head the Labor Department.

SEE ALSO: Vitter pledges to block Perez nomination

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, launched a 13-hour filibuster to block the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan, citing concerns over the White House’s drone policy.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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