Yesterday, Congressmen Bill Cassidy applauded the work of Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) for reaching a deal on the Conference Report for the water resources authorization bill. The legislation authorizes many critical infrastructure and hurricane protection projects for Louisiana, including Morganza to the Gulf.
Morganza to the Gulf is of immense importance for Louisiana’s coastal restoration and protection efforts. The project’s purpose is to protect the remaining fragile marsh and wetlands from hurricane storm surge.
Morganza to the Gulf has been under study for over 20 years and this legislation finally authorizes the project with the appropriate and revised cost-estimates. When completed, Morganza to the Gulf will prevent an estimated $1 billion in flood-related damage annually; protecting 53,000 structures within the working coastal communities that provide energy, seafood, and the shipment of goods for U.S. consumption.
Dr. Cassidy secured a commitment from Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to review the Morganza project and clear it of any additional hurdles for its final authorization. Last week, the Committee held a hearing that brought Morganza to the Gulf closer to final authorization.
Dr. Cassidy said: “The improvements agreed on by members of the House and Senate in the Water Resources conference report will make it possible for Morganza to the Gulf to be built. The report also encourages the development of local, sustainable flood projects. I am proud to have worked on legislation that is so important to Louisiana’s economy.”
The Water Resources Conference Report includes the following provisions critical for hurricane protection and waterway commerce in Louisiana:
• Coastal and ecosystem restoration through the authorization of six Louisiana Coastal Area projects;
• Critical reforms to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that expedite project delivery and penalize the Corps for missing deadlines;
• Authorization for the Corps to perform future levee lifts for the hurricane protection system;
• Increase in Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund expenditures, prioritization for funding for high- and medium-use ports, and an increase in the threshold for 100% Corps operations and management responsibility from 45 feet to 50 feet.
Press Release, May 9, 2014