For Immediate Release: June 17, 2008
Contact: Chris Macaluso
Legislature Approves Bill to Improve Efficiency and Integration of Coastal Restoration, Protection
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Senate approved Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority legislation Tuesday that provides for the integration of the individual agencies responsible for overseeing hurricane protection and coastal restoration efforts in the coastal zone.
Senate Bill 367, authored by Sen. Reggie Dupre of Bourg, makes a change to the legislation that created the CPRA in 2005 by providing for the integration of the divisions of the state Departments of Transportation and Development and Natural Resources that were responsible for hurricane protection and coastal restoration respectively. Those responsible for levee protection at DOTD will now work hand in hand with those responsible for coastal restoration at DNR in an integrated team responsible for implementing the CPRA's Comprehensive Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Hurricane Protection.
Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle, DOTD Secretary William Ankner and the staff of the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities worked together extensively to help lay the groundwork for the integration of the agencies' efforts.
"This legislation helps us to get in position to take advantage of the combining of flood protection and restoration efforts and helps the state do a more efficient job of implementing the coastal master plan," said CPRA member Windell Curole, who is also the head of the South Lafourche Levee District and the interim director of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District. "The bottom line is this gives the CPRA the best chance to take on the enormous task of restoring and protecting our coast."
The bill also expands the number of Authority members from 17 to 18 by providing an additional representative from Southwest Louisiana. The original legislation that created the CPRA, Act 8 of the First Special Session of 2005, allowed just one representative from an area without a levee district west of the Atchafalaya River to be selected to serve on the CPRA. Senate Bill 367 expands that to two representatives, a move CPRA Chairman Garret Graves said will help provide better regional balance to the Authority.
"Together with our federal partners, investments in our hurricane protection efforts will increase by an estimated 2000 percent over the next four years," Graves said. "The integration of our hurricane protection and coastal restoration teams will provide greater efficiency, capabilities and capacity in the state to ensure that our coastal priorities are carried out".
Additionally, the bill clarifies the conditions under which monies deposited into the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund may be available for certain infrastructure projects vital to ensuring the safety of those living in the coastal zone as intended in both federal law and the Louisiana Constitution.
"Storm protection and coastal restoration go hand in glove," Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Director Carlton Dufrechou said. "Their integration is critical for the future of South Louisiana and its communities, businesses, and residents. This is the right action to get projects moving to make a difference for our future."
For additional information about legislation pertaining to the CPRA and Louisiana's coastal protection and restoration efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225) 342-3968 or by email at email@example.com.
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