The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, announced yesterday that it has updated the environmental and regulatory coordinated project plan (CPP) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.
In accordance with Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the CPP includes a comprehensive schedule for completing all environmental reviews and authorization decisions needed for the Diversion project.
The updated CPP advances the anticipated permit decision date from October 2022 to November 2020, expediting the permit timeline by almost two years, reported the Corps.
This announcement follows the execution of a MOU between the State of Louisiana and multiple federal agencies on January 26, 2018. That MOU, which established a more collaborative permitting process, included a commitment by all of the agencies to work to reduce the permitting timeline.
“I am pleased that our recent efforts to implement the new MOU has resulted in a new permitting timetable, and I anticipate further reductions in the schedule as we continue to coordinate and find efficiencies in this process,” said CPRA Board Chairman Johnny Bradberry. “The Mid‐Barataria Sediment Diversion is critical to our future as it addresses the root cause of our coastal crisis by reconnecting the Mississippi River with our basins and restoring the natural process that built our delta.”
“Over the last several months, our team has worked alongside USACE with the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees to carefully review the timeline and identify ways to expedite this process while complying with all federal, state, and local laws and ensuring a thorough environmental review,” said Michael Ellis, CPRA Executive Director.
In compliance with FAST-41, USACE will continue to conduct quarterly reviews of the permitting timeline and make adjustments as new information becomes available.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will provide sediment, water, and nutrients to the basins in order to build, maintain, and sustain the wetlands, complementing the billions of dollars that have been or will be invested in coastal protection and restoration projects, such as marsh creation, ridge restoration, and barrier island restoration projects, along with shoreline and other structural protection projects.
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.