There’s good news ahead for the future of the Louisiana coast from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers that the federal agency is expediting federal permitting for work on an important restoration project in our state.
The Trump administration is cutting off about two years of the time it will take to complete the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke vowed in December to slash red tape to get the diversion completed because the Louisiana coast is such a national concern with our energy industry infrastructure here. The diversion will push fresh water, sediment and nutrients from the Mississippi River into the Barataria Basin in Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes.
The project will help rebuild our valuable coastline to carry 75,000 cubic feet of sediment-filled water per second. This will help rebuild much of our coastal land that has been lost during the past century. So welcome back, wonderful Louisiana.
Some of the federal agencies involved in the work have since signed commitments to complete the permits by August 2019. The Corps, however, has agreed to move up the timetable to complete permits from October 2022 to November 2020, according to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority which is the lead federal agency in the projects.
CPRA Board Chairman Johnny Bradberry said in a statement that he “anticipates further reductions as they continue to coordinate and find efficiencies.” For a place where wetland loss is measured at an hourly rate, shaving nearly two years off the permitting timeline as we continue to coordinate and find efficiencies in this process is a significant accomplishment.
The Mid-Baratatia Sediment Diversion is critical to our future as it addresses the root cause of our coastal crisis by reconnecting the Mississippi River with our basins and restoring the natural process that built our delta.