Governor Edwards sends Trump a list of coast protection prioritiesNews // March 9, 2017
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Donald Trump detailing a list of high priority coastal protection infrastructure projects to be considered under the president’s executive order, Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects. This is in direct response to the president’s request for input from governors across the country.
“I greatly appreciate President Trump taking this important step toward making an unprecedented investment in addressing the infrastructure problems in our state and country,” said Gov. Edwards.
“While Louisiana’s roads and bridges are in need of improvement, a single investment will significantly benefit future generations and impact numerous parts of the country and aspects of the nation’s economy, such as energy production, transportation and disaster resilience. Louisiana’s many miles of wetlands, swamp and estuaries not only support recreational and commercial hunting and fishing, but also serve as the gateway to other economic engines with vast national impact.”
Governor Edwards has proposed that the following five integrated coastal protection infrastructure projects for high priority status be given serious consideration: Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion, Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex, Calcasieu Salinity Control Measures and River Reintroduction to Maurepas Swamp.
They have each been subjected to rigorous scientific modeling, screening and evaluation procedures. While much of the needed funding is in place, the permitting and environmental review process remains the last significant hurdle to implementing these projects. All of the projects are in accordance with the president’s executive order to create jobs and provide a strong foundation for economic growth.
The five top priority coastal protection projects include:
• Barataria Sediment Diversion - This is a US$1.3 billion, 75,000 cubic feet per second maximum flow sediment diversion project located in Plaquemines Parish.
• Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion - This project is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Once constructed, it is anticipated to introduce approximately 70 million tons of new sediment into the Breton Sound Basin over a 50-year period. The early estimated cost is US$696 million.
• Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex - Located in Terrebonne Parish Louisiana, this multipurpose project is designed to reduce salt water intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico and distribute and retain freshwater entering the system. The total estimated cost for this project is US$366 million.
• Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control Measures - The Calcasieu Ship Channel provides an inlet for saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to the interior marshes surrounding Calcasieu Lake. The estimated total cost of this project is US$441.1 million.
• River Reintroduction to Maurepas Swamp - This freshwater diversion project is located in St. John the Baptist and St James Parishes and is intended to re-establish the natural freshwater, nutrient, and sediment inputs to the Maurepas Swamp. Total estimated project costs are US$186.9 million.