House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Congressman Garret Graves have sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that the Corps carry out emergency operations in at-risk areas to repair parts of Louisiana’s flood protection infrastructure, including non-federal assets that suffered damages during Hurricane Ida.
The letter reads as follows:
“Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Pinkham:
Hurricane Ida was a devastating storm that caused extraordinary winds, storm surge, and rainfall across a wide region of Louisiana. Based upon some preliminary data, wind gusts were clocked at up to 190 miles per hour. In addition, storm surge, rainfall, and flooding were and continue to be pervasive. Our state saw flooding and damages in areas never impacted by previous hurricanes or major storms. We appreciate the Corps assisting the state in unwatering Lafitte and Kraemer and other areas, but we must now think longer term.
In addition to damages to the federally-authorized New Orleans area Hurricane Protection System, New Orleans to Venice, Larose to Golden Meadow, and Morganza to the Gulf systems, some of our smaller non-federal levees and protection features also experienced damages and failures. Even key evacuation routes like United States Highway 90 were inundated before and after the storm made landfall.
Congress provided the U.S. Corps of Engineers the authority to carry out emergency operations when areas remain at risk. Specifically, the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act (P.L. 84-99 or FC&CE) provides for the Corps to participate in preparedness, response activities, and rehabilitation of flood control infrastructure such as federal and non-federal levees. Considering the incredible impacts of Hurricane Ida, we urge you to quickly assess conditions and engage the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, in cooperation with the appropriate levee districts, to determine how to best make emergency repairs and prevention investments to prevent further flooding, damages, and loss of life. The law allows the Corps to execute these missions immediately.
As you know, we are in peak hurricane season right now. The time it will take to implement emergency measures to stabilize and prevent further damages in areas such as Grand Isle, Lafitte, Larose, Kraemer, Des Allemands, and others constitute an emergency now. We urge you to expedite efforts to use the full authority of FC&CE to immediately implement emergency operations to help protect these key communities in south Louisiana.
We thank you for your prompt attention and quick response to this urgent matter.”