NEW ORLEANS (AP) Louisiana will get $127.5 million from the U.S. Department of Interior this year and in 2008 to be used for coastal protection and restoration in relation to offshore energy exploration, members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation said April 16.
The funding, which was authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, directs the Interior Department to give $250 million annually in fiscal years 2007 to 2010 to six coastal states that have offshore energy production, including Louisiana.
Approximately 53 percent, or $165.8 million, of the overall Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) funding will be available to Louisiana.
“Together with the dedicated revenue stream from the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act passed last year, these CIAP funds will be a fundamental resource for restoring Louisiana’s eroding coastline,” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said. “With all of the federal sources taken together, Louisiana can expect to receive more than $40 billion during the next half century.
“We must protect our coastal communities from the wrath of storm surges. We now have the necessary funding mechanism to get the job done and keep our communities safe.”
These funds will be used for, among other things, onshore infrastructure projects, including critical improvements on La. Highway 1 and funding to expedite construction of the Houma Navigation Canal Lock, a key component of the Morganza to the Gulf project, according to U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal’s office. The funds also will help in restoring and protecting barrier shorelines, and improving management of Mississippi River water and associated sediment transported by the river, his office said.
“Coastal restoration must be a top priority for our state as we move into the future, and this money, along with the revenues that will come to our state as part of the energy revenue sharing bill I helped to pass by Congress last year, will be a great step forward in completing these projects,” Jindal said. “As Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us, our state can no longer wait for these added protections.”
Louisiana parishes that will receive funding include Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Vermilion.