U.S. Sen. David Vitter, top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, harshly criticized the Corps yesterday for not adequately dredging the Calcasieu River Ship Channel.
The Corps has failed to maintain the channel to its authorized width and depth, which forced Lake Charles pilots to implement restrictions on the main channel of the Calcasieu River.
“Let me be crystal clear, the Corps’ failure to adequately dredge is unacceptable,” Vitter told the Corps. “The Corps’ gross mismanagement of the channel is beyond frustrating, and could cause a huge economic loss for Louisiana. The Corps needs to address this immediately.”
Vitter highlighted that the Corps’ failure to properly dredge the Calcasieu River Ship Channel will have a negative impact on the Port of Lake Charles, the nation’s 13th largest port, and the approximately $70 billion in announced domestic energy investment in southwest Louisiana.
The delays by the Corps could mean that over 20,000 barrels of crude oil may not be transported into currently-operating refining facilities, creating potential financial losses of over $350 million. It could also jeopardize approximately 27,000 construction jobs and 50,000 direct and indirect jobs created by Port of Lake Charles, current refining facilities, and future domestic energy projects.