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Comite River dredging bill gets support from House Committee

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BATON ROUGE - A bill to allow the Comite River to be dredged, cleaned, and snagged got committee support in the State Capitol Thursday.

Louisiana District 6 Senator Bodi White authored the bill, which would allow debris removal, dredging, and snagging in the Comite River. White believes potential flooding near the Comite River is a problem for citizens who've already flooded once before.

"Tons, and tons of debris, washing machines, tires from the flood of 2016 that washed into the river... And you have to get it out. You can't do it without exempting it from the law," White said.

City of Central Councilman Wayne Messina testified in front of the Natural Resource House Committee Thursday morning, urging lawmakers that passing this bill would be in the best interest of nature and the residents who live near the river.

"The bill is not advocating that we go dredge out the Comite River so the Titanic can float down it," Messina said.

But opponents of the bill want to preserve the river's natural character. 

The Scenic River Act prohibits some rivers, including the Comite River, from snagging and dredging. If this bill passes the House, it would give the state provisions to clean debris and dredge the river for the next three years.

"What happens is the water leaves here and gets into the Comite and goes to the Amite and then it starts to back up. And it backs up to us," Messina said.

The bill now goes to the house for a vote.


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