Water Resources Development Act passes Senate committee with Kennedy wins for Louisiana
Published 6:27 am Thursday, May 5, 2022
WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with key provisions for Louisiana that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) successfully negotiated into the bill. The 2022 WRDA package now awaits a vote in the full Senate.
“With the crucial provisions we negotiated for our state, WRDA would help restore ecosystems in south Louisiana and ensure that important Army Corps of Engineers projects get completed sooner,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy fought to include in WRDA several measures that would expedite Army Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana and a provision that would substantially reduce Louisiana’s cost share to perform ecosystem restoration in areas degraded by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) navigation channel.
The MRGO navigation channel was closed after Hurricane Katrina, but the state has not yet restored the habitats that the channel damaged. Louisiana normally covers 35 percent of the cost of Corps of Engineers projects while the federal government covers 65 percent. The WRDA provision that Kennedy helped negotiate increases the federal share of restoring the MRGO to 90 percent of the project’s cost.
Other Kennedy victories in WRDA include directing the Corps of Engineers to:
- Resume operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the Algiers Canal Levees at full federal expense.
- Prioritize the Louisiana Coastal Area Project.
- Expedite completion of studies for coastal storm risk management in St. Tammany Parish and south-central coastal Louisiana.
- Mandate a low-cost, environmentally-friendly plan to dispose of dredged material as part of the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening Project. This plan could allow Louisiana to start this project sooner than alternative plans and would allow the state to use the dredged material to create additional wetlands.