FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2007
Contact: Chris Macaluso
CPRA Chair Briefs Congressional Delegation on South Louisiana Coastal Protection, Restoration Needs
Louisiana is ready to Begin Designing and Building Urgent Restoration and Protection Projects
NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Chair Sidney Coffee briefed Congressional members who accompanied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Gulf Coast this week on coastal protection and restoration issues and the state's comprehensive master plan.
Coffee explained the importance of the state's master plan to rebuild and restore vanishing coastal marshes and alerted members to the challenges facing Louisiana as the state moves forward in implementing the plan.
"It's important that key members of Congress understand that lengthy Corps of Engineers procedures can hold us back. We cannot be constrained by the normal Corps feasibility process or by the typical Congressional appropriations process," Coffee said. "The needs here are urgent and the consequences of inaction or slow action will impact the entire nation because of the vital resources Louisiana's coast provides the U.S."
She was joined by General Robert Van Antwerp, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief, who briefed the delegation on the progress of levee repairs and construction in the New Orleans area. Van Antwerp also explained the progress being made by the Corps on its plan for Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Project (LaCPR). The technical report is due to Congress in December and the final report is due next summer.
The Corps has assured the State of Louisiana it is using the state's Master Plan as the vision for its planning efforts.
"It is critical to our success that Congress treats the Corps report in a programmatic way, allowing the state to move forward on construction of protection and restoration projects with the assurance we will receive credit for the work done," Coffee said. "The state is ready to get to work and we need our federal partners to be on the same page with the right direction from Congress."
Coffee and Van Antwerp accompanied the delegation on a bus tour of areas in St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes still devastated by the floodwaters brought by Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago. After stops to view the marshes surrounding the MRGO and the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, the tour ended at the new flood control gate at the mouth of the 17th Street Canal in the Lakeview area of New Orleans.
For more information about Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection of the CPRA, please contact Chris Macaluso in the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities 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.