Federal permitting could be a problem

Our state is trying its best to firm up our southern Gulf of Mexico coast and make it a place for landings and pickups on our North American continent.

Out it seems we are getting little help from our federal government to get the job done.

The Louisiana Senate has approved the state’s 2017 master plan, a 50-year agenda to limit land loss along the coast, by a big margin last week. It passed by a vote of 33-1. Now the plan must go before the state House of Representatives this week where officials of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority hope it will be considered in committee next week and by the full House the following week.

Law provides that the state provide a newly revised master plan every five years.

The 2017 version will detail about $50 billion worth of projects. It must be approved unanimously in both the House and Senate of the Legislature. The 2007 and 2012 master plans passed unanimously in both chambers.

This year, a problem seems to have arisen.

There is a daunting federal permitting process for some key elements in the plan.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has told the coastal authority that permitting for one of the elements in the plan, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion near Myrtle Grove, won’t be completed until 2022.

That’s unacceptable and Gov. John Bel Edwards has asked President Donald Trump’s administration to declare a state of emergency to streamline the process.

Our state coastal agency reportedly has discussed the matter with federal officials and were asked how they were being stymied in the federal process.

We certainly hope they come out with a clear and doable answer to the problem.

It’s the Louisiana coast we are fiddling with and hopefully our local and federal officials can come together and keep our state in one solid piece as we have been trying to do for many years now.

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