La. governor announces federal approval for levee construction plan

Governor Bobby Jindal announced that the president has agreed to grant Louisiana the flexibility to pay the required match for levee construction over 30 years. Governor Jindal said, "This announcement marks a significant step in the recovery of this region and our state. Not only do our citizens rightly deserve the flood protection they were promised, but just as importantly, they deserve this protection in a way that will not financially undermine our state budget."...

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Aug. 8, 2008 -- Governor Bobby Jindal announced that the president has agreed to grant Louisiana the flexibility to pay the required match for levee construction over 30 years at a press conference Thursday evening at the Superdome.

Governor Jindal said, "Today, we are announcing that the President will grant us the flexibility to pay the required match for levee construction over 30 years. This announcement marks a significant step in the recovery of this region and our state. Not only do our citizens rightly deserve the flood protection they were promised, but just as importantly, they deserve this protection in a way that will not financially undermine our state budget.

"This flexibility will relieve us of a heavy financial burden that would have been very difficult to meet. It is a real commitment to the rebuilding of our levee protection and system and allows us to work aggressively on other hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects.

"The administration deserves great credit for this decision. This agreement signals just how strong the President's support is for helping this state recover. On behalf of the citizens of this great state, we say, "thank you." Additionally, I must thank General Odell for working so closely with me on brokering this deal with the administration. He has been tireless in his efforts.

"I have said all along, that all we were asking for is what we rightly deserved. Without this agreement, our ability to continue to effectively plan for our future, improve our schools, train our workforce and improve health care would have been burdened due to huge levee payments each year.

"Since 2005, we have invested billions of dollars in restoring our communities and rebuilding the lives of those affected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. It only makes sense that we build strong levees to protect our people and America's investment in our State.

"This announcement will allow the state to aggressively move forward on comprehensive coastal restoration as was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act last year.

"The agreement today will free financial resources for important hurricane protection measures such as the Morganza to the gulf, larose to Golden Meadow and important Restoration and hurricane protection projects in Southwest Louisiana.

"Again, I appreciate the efforts of the administration and General O'Dell, along with the hard work of countless others, to keep this issue alive and lead us to today's announcement."

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. For the first time in Louisiana's history, this single state authority will integrate coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana's coast. Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA will work to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation's critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come. The CPRA of Louisiana was established by Act 8 of the 1st Extraordinary Session of 2005

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