[StBernard] Sen. Landrieu Secures Nearly $500 Million for La. Projects

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Jun 27 20:36:07 EDT 2007

Sen. Landrieu Secures Nearly $500 Million for La. Projects Appropriations
panel clears 98 Landrieu-sponsored projects throughout state.

WASHINGTON - As a member of the United States Senate Energy and Water
Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today secured
$484,133,000 in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for 98 projects
across Louisiana.

"This funding is a crucial component of our flood control, navigation and
coastal protection programs," Sen. Landrieu said. "America depends on
Louisiana as its trading gateway to the world and we anchor the country's
only Energy Coast. This bill will strengthen our economic infrastructure
while also funding flood-control projects to keep our communities dry if we
fall victim to a future natural disaster."

In the bill, Sen. Landrieu secured $18.5 million for the Southeast Louisiana
Urban Flood Control Project (SELA), which provides for engineering, design
and construction of projects for flood control and improvements to rainfall
drainage systems in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany Parishes. Sen.
Landrieu last month secured $25.3 million for SELA in the emergency
supplemental spending bill that was signed by the President. Sen. Landrieu
also secured language directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to include
authorized features of SELA and internal pumping requirements in the
comprehensive protection system.

"SELA is absolutely essential to protecting the communities of southeast
Louisiana," Sen. Landrieu said. "While we work to strengthen our levees to
protect us against future disasters, SELA is critical to keeping our pumps
working and preventing flooding from heavy rain storms."

"I want to complement the extraordinary leadership of Senator Mary Landrieu
for advancing the SELA project in tandem with the 100-year flood protection
plan," Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish, said. "This is a
brilliant plan of Sen. Landrieu's and this will be her lasting legacy for
Southeast Louisiana. It is crucial because funding for SELA was being
threatened, and at the rate at which it was decreasing, it would have taken
decades after decades to fund the SELA projects. Sen. Landrieu's approach
will accelerate the advancement of improvements to pumping stations and
canals in Jefferson Parish in tandem with the 100-year flood control plan.
This is how it should have been, and now, this is how it will be."

"We are ecstatic because the President had taken out all funding for SELA,
and now Sen. Landrieu is providing the leadership to help put the money
back," said Tommy Capela, Chairman of the Jefferson Parish Council.
"Additionally, this bill will allow the Federal Government to reimburse us
for the $40 million that Jefferson Parish borrowed from the state to build
safehouses and retention ponds so that we could be ready for the next
hurricane season. We can now pay that off and the people of Jefferson
Parish will not be on the hook for that money. The internal flooding plan
in SELA along with the 100-year plan will protect us from nature on an
internal drainage basis. And that makes sense because hurricane protection
is an integrated system that includes external surge protection and internal
pumping capacity. I thank Sen. Landrieu for her leadership and brilliant
ideas to help protect our citizens."

Sen. Landrieu secured $12 million for Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem
Restoration projects (LCA), which span along the Gulf Coast from Texas to
Mississippi. The goal of LCA is to sustain a coastal ecosystem in south
Louisiana, restore the ecosystem and wetlands and aid communities and
industries along the coast.

"Louisiana continues to lose our wetlands at a remarkable rate," Sen.
Landrieu said. "LCA will help restore our wetlands and maintain a
sustainable environment for our communities. This funding is essential to
protecting Louisiana's beauty and culture."

Sen. Landrieu also secured $4 million in funding for Morganza to the Gulf
flood control projects, which were authorized in the 2007 Water Resources
Development Act (WRDA). Morganza to the Gulf is a series of levees, locks
and other systems through Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes that will, when
complete, serve to protect more than 120,000 people and 1,700 square miles
of land against storm surges such as those caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"Too many Louisianians are left without hurricane protection," Sen. Landrieu
said. "This funding will help protect 120,000 people and 1,700 square miles
of land against storm surges such as those caused by Hurricane Katrina."

Sen. Landrieu secured $300,000 to study and develop plans for flood control
in Bossier Parish and $7 million for construction of the Comite River
Diversion for flood control in Baton Rouge. She also secured funding for
key dredging projects for navigation in Louisiana, including $20 million in
dredging to maintain navigation in the Calcasieu River in Pass and $9.865
million to maintain navigation by dredging, cutting stoplog slots and
maintenance of the Ouachita and Black Rivers.

"Louisiana provides America's economic gateway to the rest of the world, and
this funding will ensure that our waterways are navigable so that we can
maximize our economic potential," Sen. Landrieu said.

Among the other 92 projects Sen. Landrieu secured funded for, she secured $1
million for the Port of Iberia, $2.2 million for Larose to Golden Meadow,
$14 million for Atchafalaya River and Bayouse Chene, Boeuf and Black and $2
million for the Houma Navigation Canal.

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