CPRA Board Chairman, Johnny Bradberry, along with several federal partners signed a landmark MOU last Friday in Washington, D.C. which commits to a 2-year federal permitting timeline for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project.
“Large-scale ecosystem restoration is essential to Louisiana’s future and with today’s MOU we will be able to successfully work through the permitting process to resolve that issue and move forward.” Bradberry said.
In January 2017, The White House Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council rendered approval to include Louisiana’s Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project on the Federal Permitting Dashboard, a government-wide effort to streamline the federal permitting and review process while increasing transparency.
The dashboard mechanism was expected to greatly reduce the lengthy federal environmental review and permitting process, but CPRA later learned that the best-estimate schedule projected the Mid-Barataria project permitting would be five years.
This disappointing pronouncement delayed implementation until 2022. “CPRA has been pushing for an expedited permitting timeframe since day one of this administration,” said CPRA Board Chairman Bradberry.
“CPRA knows that we have to do big things to change the trajectory of our coast and permitting and constructing Mid-Barataria has long been seen as the first big test of that agenda. This MOU signals that the federal regulatory agencies are going to be working with us to implement this project on an expedited timeline. We couldn’t be happier,” commented Chairman Bradberry.
According to CPRA, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is a project that will harness the power of the Mississippi River for long-term, sustainable sediment, water, and nutrient delivery to the surrounding wetlands.
The structure will be located in Plaquemines Parish, LA, along the west bank of the Mississippi River, just north of Ironton and south of the Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery, near Mississippi River Mile 61.
The main elements of the diversion complex are the diversion structure and the conveyance channel. The diversion intake structure, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, replaces a section of the earthen levee system with gated structures to transport sediment. The conveyance channel is used for transporting the sediment from the river to the Barataria Basin.