Sen. Landrieu led the effort to include more than $1 billion in emergency funding to restore and reconstruct flood protection systems damaged during the 2011 Mississippi River flooding.
The bill also maintains progress on coastal restoration program that were authorized in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill creating the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA).
“These dredging funds are essential to keeping the major ports along the lower Mississippi River open for business and commerce,” Sen. Landrieu said. “We must also rebuild the critical flood protection infrastructure to protect our river communities against future Mississippi River flooding. An ounce of prevention now is worth a pound cure later.”
During the markup, Sen. Landrieu challenged the committee and the Senate to find the courage and political will to fund desperately needed coastal protection and restoration projects.
“We cannot expect the Corps of Engineers to do their work if we keep cutting their construction budget, as well as their maintenance budget. The Corps’ construction budget has been reduced by nearly 50 percent since 2008. In 2008, it was $2.2 billion; today, it is $1.6 billion,” Sen. Landrieu. “There is at least $60 billion in backlogged projects in the Corps of Engineers. This is not good, and it is not sustainable. As the appropriations process continues, I will be pressing my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Capitol to adequately fund the maintenance and construction of critical Corps projects.”
For years, Sen. Landrieu has been pressing Congress to strengthen standards for imported seafood, particularly shrimp imports. In the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill, she secured language that directs FDA to develop a comprehensive safety program for imported seafood.
“It is unfair that our domestic shrimpers have to meet tougher food safety standards, while foreign imports flood our market at the domestic shrimpers’ expense,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Less than 2 percent of foreign imports are inspected by the FDA and much of this product is contaminated with harmful chemicals that are banned in the U.S.”
Sen. Landrieu supports the development of alternative energy that will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. As such, she secured $30 million under the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. The funds in the FY12 Energy and Water Appropriations bill will be invested in algae energy research for biofuels.
“Louisiana is not only fueling the country’s current energy needs, but is leading the country in developing new, alternative sources of energy. Algae energy technology holds promise that will decrease our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and Louisiana is well positioned to lead this effort,” Sen. Landrieu said.
Despite constrained resources, Sen. Landrieu secured the following funding for Louisiana projects:
Mississippi River and Tributaries Flood Control and Navigation Project ($1.1 billion)
- $1 billion in disaster reconstruction, recovery and dredging along the Mississippi River and its tributaries across seven states in the Mississippi River valley
- $45,570,000 for the construction of Channel Improvement along the Mississippi River and its tributaries across seven states in the Mississippi River valley
- $24,180,000 for the construction of Mississippi River levees along the Mississippi River and its tributaries across seven states in the Mississippi River valley
- $8,200,000 for the Atchafalaya Basin and Floodway system
- $61,230,000 for the operation and maintenance of channel improvement along the Mississippi River and its tributaries across seven states in the Mississippi River valley
- $7,951,000 for the operation and maintenance of levees along the Mississippi River and its tributaries across seven states in the Mississippi River valley
- $10,386,000 for the operation and maintenance of the Atchafalaya Basin and Floodway system
- $1,884,000 for maintenance dredging along on the Tensas Basin, Boeuf & Tensas Rivers
- $42,000 for maintenance dredging in the BR Harbor, Devil Swamp
- $48,000 for maintenance dredging along Bayou Cocodrie & Tributaries
- $2,145,000 for operation and maintenance at the Bonnet Carre diversion structure
- $377,000 for operation and maintenance on the Lower Red River, South Bank Levees
- $2,473,000 for maintenance dredging along the Tensas Basin, Red River Back Water
Continued Studies that are essential to the following projects ($19.2 million):
- $2,000,000 for the Bayou Sorrel Lock, LA
- $1,000,000 for the Calcasieu Lock, LA
- $16,245,000 for coastal restoration studies under the LA Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration program
Construction on existing Corps projects ($5.5 million):
- $5,500,000 for the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection project
Operation and Maintenance of Existing Corps Navigation and Flood Control Projects ($136.8 million):
- $68,000,000 for maintenance dredging along the Mississippi River from BR to the Gulf of Mexico
- $7,152,000 for maintenance dredging on the Atchafalaya River & Bayou Chene, Boeuf & Black waterway
- $15,474,000 for maintenance dredging along the Calcasieu River &Pass
- $2,087,000 for operation and maintenance of Bayou Bodcau Reservoir
- $7,717,000 for maintenance dredging along the J Bennett Johnston Waterway
- $1,191,000 for the operation and maintenance of Bayou Lafourche& Lafourche Jump Water Way
- $24,000 for the operation and maintenance of Bayou Pierre
- $15,000 for the operation and maintenance of Bayou Teche & Vermillion River
- $132,000 for the operation and maintenance of Bayou Teche
- $220,000 for the operation and maintenance of Caddo Lake
- $1,695,000 for the operation and maintenance of Fresh Water Bayou
- $30,575,000 for maintenance dredging along the Gulf Intracoastal Canal
- $885,000 for maintenance dredging along the Houma Navagational Canal
- $1,250,000 for maintenance dredging along Mermentau River
- $200,000 for the Removal of Aquatic Growth
- $239,000 for the operation and maintenance of Wallace Lake"
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