$3.1 million windfall for SC Parish levees and wetlands

April 18, 2007 at 1:23 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Senator David Vitter
Senator David Vitter
U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced that the Department of Interior will allocate $3.1 million in federal funding for St. Charles Parish through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program that became law with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The money will help offset the $700,000 per year from the general fund being used to repair existing levees to protect residents from storm surges and flooding.

“During Senate debate on the 2005 Energy bill, I worked to include a provision in this legislation that provided $1 billion over four years for coastal impact assistance to states and parishes that host offshore energy development and experience related impacts,” said Vitter.

“The provision is now bearing fruit in the form of this important coastal funding.”

Parish President Albert Laque is pleased with the award.

“We will take any money we can get to use as assistance to rebuild our coastline and repair our levees,” he told the Herald-Guide exclusively.

Laque’s administrative team is already looking at the funding documentation and stipulations to determine exactly what the money can be used for.

“Generally when we receive federal money we are told exactly what funds can be applied to certain areas,” Laque said.

A spokesman in Sen. Vitter’s office in Washington, D.C., told the Herald-Guide “23 percent - about $700,000 - of the funding can be applied to help assist the parish in rebuilding the levees.”

He went on to say that the funds can be used for coastal protection and wetlands restoration, infrastructure projects that are designed to moderate the impacts from offshore energy production activities and mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

As one of 19 eligible parishes in the state's coastal zone, St. Charles Parish will receive $3.1 million in federal funding over the next two years.

“Louisiana’s coastal land loss rates have reached catastrophic proportions, and the 2005 hurricane season was further proof that until we restore our nation’s wetlands the destruction of land and property from such storms will never subside – it will only get worse,” added Vitter.

“This federal money is not limited to studies and research; this is ‘shovels in the ground money’ for a host of projects to help restore our eroding wetlands.”

These funds are part of the four-year Coastal Impact Assistance Program. For the next several decades, the parish will also receive funds through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act that Vitter helped negotiate and pass into law in December of last year.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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