WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) voted to pass H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA 2018), which authorizes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects that improve our ports, waterways, and flood protection infrastructure. Congressman Higgins secured language in the bill to require the Corps to prioritize completion of the Southwest Louisiana Coastal Project and make improvements to the land acquisition process for new projects.
The Southwest Louisiana Coastal Project is part of the Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) Master Plan. The project is a coastal restoration and storm mitigation effort that encompasses 4,700 square miles in Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion parishes. It previously underwent a comprehensive environmental, engineering, and economic feasibility study. Under WRDA 2018, the project moves out of the study phase and will be authorized for construction under the Corps list of approved projects.
Congressman Higgins also secured an amendment that improves the easement process and empowers state, federal, and private cooperation when acquiring land. Under current law, the Corps is often forced to unnecessarily purchase land or leasing rights beyond what is required for completion of a project. Congressman Higgins’ changes will expedite construction, reduce costs, and minimize conflict with property owners by requiring a minimum interest in real property to support new infrastructure projects.
Congressman Higgins issued the following statement:
“South Louisiana’s ports and waterways serve as critical economic engines for our communities. WRDA improves our maritime infrastructure and supports future growth. We were also successful in securing authorization for the Southwest Louisiana Coastal Project and important reforms to the Army Corps in this bill. We prioritized eliminating bureaucracy to expedite projects and cuts costs of new infrastructure development.
WRDA builds off our announcement last month that South Louisiana waterways would receive $205 million for dredging and maintenance operations. I’m proud to support these efforts that drive economic growth and make our coastal communities more resilient.”
Last month, Congressman Higgins’ announced that the Corps would provide $205 million in funding for seven Louisiana projects. Click here for more on those projects.