For Immediate Release: February 13, 2009
Contact: Chris Macaluso
***PLEASE NOTE: The following press release was originally posted on Governor Bobby Jindal's website www.gov.louisiana.gov February 13***
Governor Jindal Announces $300 Million in Surplus Funds, $78 Million in Recovery Funds for Coastal Restoration and Hurricane Protection Projects
NEW ORLEANS - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he is requesting a $300 million investment of funds from the 2008 surplus into coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects throughout Louisiana, and that an additional $78 million in federal recovery funds for coastal projects is expected for a total of $378 million toward coastal restoration and hurricane protection efforts.
"No one in Louisiana needs to be reminded of the havoc that hurricanes bring to our state each time they strike, and we know their magnitude and destruction is made worse each time there is less and less of our wetlands to slow down storms and decrease the terrible impact they have when they hit land. Coastal restoration helps guard against this damage. We are in a battle to save our coasts. It is a battle against time that washes more of our land out to sea each year, and it is a battle we gain ground on by making critical investments in hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects that strengthen coastal communities."
Governor Jindal added, "Hurricanes Gustav and Ike showed us again just this last year that it is absolutely critical for us to continue to fight to protect our people, our infrastructure, and our state's future by making these important investments in our coastal protection system. We made progress last year, we are building on that this year, and we will continue to build on these efforts in the years ahead."
Regarding the state's current fiscal situation, the Governor said, "Today's announcement is another example that while state government must tighten its belt in times of decreased revenue, it is also vital for us to continue to invest in our priorities. I committed to the people of Louisiana that we will continue to move our state forward while living within our means, and that is exactly what we are doing with this important investment of state resources in the protection and restoration of our coasts."
As with coastal funding provided last year, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will make recommendations on which projects will benefit from the funding. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's recommendations will be submitted to the joint budget committee of the Legislature for approval.
The Governor said today he anticipates these funds will be used for projects from coast to coast, with a significant investment for projects in the New Orleans and bayou areas of Southeast Louisiana. He said that CPRA Chairman Garret Graves has already been working with CPRA members to commit up to $200 million toward purchasing the land needed to completely fulfill the state's share in ensuring New Orleans has 100 year Flood Protection by 2011.
The Corps interpreted the state-federal 30-year finance agreement to require the state to provide $336 million in real estate costs before the end of the state's 2010 fiscal year. To date, the state and levee districts have acquired about $36 million in real estate. Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority set aside $100 million last year in an effort to expedite the New Orleans area hurricane protection work. With $36 million in real estate acquired and the $100 million available to acquire future property, CPRA is left with a $200 million need in FY2010. The Governor's announcement of $300 million he is requesting from surplus funds today will fully meet the state's share of this critical flood protection effort.
Today's announcement builds on Governor Jindal's $1.1 billion commitment to coastal and hurricane protection efforts in the state, which included funds from the state trust fund and the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act program (Breaux Act).
The Governor's financial commitment of these surplus funds will result in the expenditure of over half a billion dollars for coastal and hurricane protection efforts in FY 2010. This includes state funds and an estimated $60 million in federal dollars through the Breaux Act program.
The Governor also spoke today about a total of $78 million in anticipated federal coastal funds slated to come to the area through the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which includes $28 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for coastal projects and $50 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds to prevent future flooding/damages in coastal areas.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the state have $15 billion in projects underway to repair and improve the hurricane protection system in the Greater New Orleans area. This is money in the bank - not dependent upon future appropriations. This ongoing work is designed to provide the updated (post-Katrina) 100-year level of protection for parts of five parishes comprising Greater New Orleans - Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Charles.
The non-federal cost share on this hurricane protection work will total $1.8 billion. Last year, the Governor and White House negotiated an agreement to allow the state to pay its share over a 30-year period. Congress codified this agreement in September of 2008 in an emergency supplemental appropriations bill.
For more information about Louisiana's ongoing coastal restoration and hurricane protection efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at 225-342-3968 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.