U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., secured $16.8 million for the Louisiana Coastal Area Program (LCA) to begin construction on LCA Ecosystem Restoration projects and $9.36 million to study future projects.
The funding was included during a markup by the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee of the FY13 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The bill now moves to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for its review later this week.
Thanks to Sen. Landrieu’s leadership, the bill provides the necessary construction funding to jump-start coastal restoration work in Louisiana that has been developed during many years of planning and study. Today’s efforts continue Sen. Landrieu’s long push to fund coastal restoration, including passage of the RESTORE Act.
“For decades, the people of Louisiana have been fighting a noble battle to save the most productive and environmentally significant delta in the world. We are losing a football field of wetlands every half hour in an area where millions work and live,” Sen. Landrieu said. “This legislation funds critical coastal restoration projects in Louisiana, and I am grateful to Chairman Diane Feinstein and the subcommittee for making this a priority. A vital Gulf Coast means a vital U.S. economy. All of America counts on this coastline to support jobs and industries.”
In 2007, Congress authorized the Louisiana Coastal Area Program, including nearly $2 billion in “near term” coastal wetland restoration projects. But until today, no funding had been appropriated to finance construction of the critical projects despite inclusion in the President’s budget requests.
Previous federal funds utilized for coastal restoration have come through other programs championed by Senator Landrieu, such as the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), as well as the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). However, the needs are far greater than what is provided through CIAP and CWPPRA. While $16.8 million is just the start of construction funding needed to advance critical restoration projects in Louisiana, preserving money appropriated in this bill is a key step to ensuring more robust funding in the future.
The subcommittee also included $100,000 for necessary studies regarding the Louisiana Coastal Area Comprehensive Plan, at Sen. Landrieu’s request.
Last week, the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee approved a bill without funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area Program.
Dredging Today Staff, April 27, 2012;