FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bureaucracy and Red Tape Threaten Critical Coastal Project
Possible Delays for Mid-Barataria Diversion Baffling
(Baton Rouge – March 15, 2017) At this morning’s Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board meeting, Col. Michael Clancy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated that the Corps’ new target date for issuing a permit on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is October 2022 – two years behind the schedule proposed by the state of Louisiana.
In response, Kimberly Davis Reyher, Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) released the following statement:
“We live on a river delta that is sinking. The water is rising. We need to act quickly.
“The best available science tells us that we need to harness the power of the Mississippi River to rebuild land by constructing diversions to release water and sediment into our disappearing wetlands. The Mid-Barataria diversion will be the first major sediment diversion project. Governor Edwards has indicated that the State hopes to break ground on the project in 2020. We were surprised and disappointed to hear today the prediction that the federal permitting process for this critical project could extend through October 2022—two full years beyond the timeline set out by the state.
“CRCL first called for the immediate construction of sediment diversions in our 1989 report Coastal Louisiana Here Today and Gone Tomorrow?, at a time that we were all just beginning to understand Louisiana’s land loss crisis. The urgency has only increased as we have learned more in the years since.
“There has already been extensive planning for this critical project, and there is funding available to get to work. The state has established a reasonable timetable for the project, and the federal agencies have been charged with working together to fast-track the permitting process. We need to accelerate progress, not slow it down. We are baffled by the possibility that bureaucratic red tape could slow down this crucial project when it’s evident that it is urgently needed to save our coast.
“We applaud Governor Edwards and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for setting out a timeline to start construction by 2020. We believe the permitting process is an important one and one that can’t be taken lightly, but, in this instance, it’s one that must be accelerated. We are hopeful the federal agencies will sit down together to work out a more efficient and reasonable timeline.
“Our communities are slowly sinking into the Gulf. We hope the federal government will send a life raft instead of an anchor.”
Founded in 1988, The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is the longest standing statewide organization driving bold drive bold, science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration and advocacy. With the support of members and volunteers, CRCL implements restoration projects across coastal Louisiana. Visit crcl.org.