Over $1B for coastal protection, restoration projects in LA

Governor Bobby Jindal announced plans for more than $1 billion in coastal protection and restoration projects in Louisiana. This announcement represents the largest investment in coastal protection programs in Louisiana history and includes $300 million in funding the Governor called for in his second special session of the legislature earlier in the year, $200 million in surplus funding from the 2007 legislative session, $510 million from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program...

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Aug. 13, 2008 - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced plans for more than $1 billion in coastal protection and restoration projects in Louisiana. This announcement of projects today represents the largest investment in coastal protection programs in Louisiana history and includes $300 million in funding the Governor called for in his second special session of the legislature earlier in the year, $200 million in surplus funding from the 2007 legislative session, $510 million from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, $83 million from the state trust fund/capital outlay and $68 million from the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, "This announcement of a more than a billion dollar investment by the state is the largest investment in coastal restoration and protection projects in our state's history. I have said all along that the time for studies and research has long passed. It is time to start breaking ground and digging dirt on these projects, and with this announcement today we are ready to do just that. These projects, along with nearly $15 billion in ongoing coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects in New Orleans and other areas of the state, represent one of the largest public works efforts in the world.

"The projects and programs announced today are designed to complement the ongoing hurricane protection work in our state. The projects include coastal restoration efforts that will provide the coastal buffer we need to improve our hurricane protection levees already under construction and funds to advance hurricane protection efforts in every coastal parish in our state. Our coastal protection efforts protect the lives of Louisiana families, our critical infrastructure, and the resources that drive our economy. This is a tremendous day for coastal Louisiana and our entire state."

Highlights of Governor Bobby Jindal's Announcement of More than $1 Billion in Major Coastal Protection and Restoration Projects:
• $200 million - Hurricane Protection improvements in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes (Morganza to the Gulf and Larose to Golden Meadow projects). This includes $27 million in local funds and will bring the total funds available for the Morganza (Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes) and Larose to Golden Meadow (Lafourche Parish) projects to over $200 million. The Corps will provide an additional $30 million in flood protection for Terrebonne Parish.

• $130 million - Greater New Orleans Hurricane Protection Cost Share. While the agreement reached with the White House would not require Louisiana to provide matching funds until 2011, this $130 million investment will help expedite ongoing construction, which will help the Corps meet the 2011 deadline. This is financially prudent in that future surpluses are uncertain and will allow the state to help keep the Corps on schedule and continuing coastal development projects.

• $70 million - Caminada Headlands/Barataria Basin Shoreline Restoration. The Caminada project will provide a buffer to storm surge in Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes. This includes a commitment from the state to acquire and restore Elmer's Island and make it available to the public for fishing and other recreational uses.

• $45 million - Cameron Parish Shoreline. This project will protect miles of coast and Highway 82 in Cameron Parish.

• $37million - Sediment Pipeline for Restoration of Plaquemines, Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes. This dedicated pipeline will deliver land-building materials to three parishes in coastal Louisiana. This creates a dedicated, long-distance pipeline from the west bank of Plaquemines Parish to Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes. These funds will allow for the completion of construction and for operation of the pipeline. Once this project in completed, the state will move forward on similar projects on the Calcasieu River, Atchafalaya River into Terrebonne Parish and other areas in Plaquemines Parish on the Mississippi River.

• $24 million - Bayou Lafourche Freshwater Diversion. This investment will complete the first phase of this project and allow for a diversion of 300 feet per second on the bayou. The WRDA bill authorized $150 million for this project.

• $26 million - Beneficial Use of Dredge Material. Each year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spends nearly $200 million to dredge navigation channels in Louisiana. Nearly all of this sediment, that actually built Louisiana, is usually dumped into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In the last eight months, the state has nearly doubled the available sites to place this dredge material and create wetlands. This investment announced today will jumpstart the beneficial use of dredge material, which is one of the fastest and most effective investments we can make to restore our coastal areas.

Virtually all of the 2008 surplus spending included in the Governor's announcement today is designed to advance federally-authorized projects, including funds to expedite hurricane protection in the Greater New Orleans area. Additionally, the Governor said the state will also make a robust investment in science and technology to provide solutions to our coastal restoration and protection challenges. He said Louisiana is on the forefront of integrated coastal management innovations and the state is also home to some of the best coastal scientists in the nation.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan.

Also see:
-- CPRA dedicates $300 million to host of coastal restoration, hurricane protection projects
-- Louisiana spending plan wins praise from environmental leaders

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