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Edwards says wetlands needs priority over roads in request to federal government

7 months 1 week 5 days ago Wednesday, March 08 2017 Mar 8, 2017 March 08, 2017 9:34 AM March 08, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – One of the governor's five priority projects for coastal protection he's asked the president to consider under an executive order is a project to re-establish natural freshwater in Maurepas Swamp.

The swamp project could cost as much as $187 million. It'd divert freshwater through a diversion project located in St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes.

Other projects include:

Barataria Sediment Diversion - This is a $1.3 billion, 75,000 cubic feet per second maximum flow sediment diversion project located in Plaquemines Parish.

Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion - This project is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Once constructed, it is anticipated to introduce approximately 70 million tons of new sediment into the Breton Sound Basin over a 50-year period.  The early estimated cost is $696 million.

Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex - Located in Terrebonne Parish Louisiana, this multipurpose project is designed to reduce salt water intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico and distribute and retain freshwater entering the system. The total estimated cost for this project is $366 million.

Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control Measures - The Calcasieu Ship Channel provides an inlet for saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to the interior marshes surrounding Calcasieu Lake. The estimated total cost of this project is $441.1 million.

The request was made in direct response to the president’s request for input from governors across the country, Gov. John Bel Edwards' office said Wednesday.

I greatly appreciate President Trump taking this important step toward making an unprecedented investment in addressing the infrastructure problems in our state and country,” said Gov. Edwards.

“While Louisiana’s roads and bridges are in need of improvement, a single investment will significantly benefit future generations and impact numerous parts of the country and aspects of the nation’s economy, such as energy production, transportation and disaster resilience. Louisiana’s many miles of wetlands, swamp and estuaries not only support recreational and commercial hunting and fishing, but also serve as the gateway to other economic engines with vast national impact.”

The governor said in a news release, each project was subjected to rigorous scientific modeling, screening and evaluation procedures. While much of the needed funding is in place, the permitting and environmental review process remains the last significant hurdle to implementing these projects. All of the projects are in accordance with the president’s executive order to create jobs and provide a strong foundation for economic growth, the governor said.

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