Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) voted to pass the House Amendment to S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which authorizes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects that improve our ports, waterways, and flood protection infrastructure. Congressman Higgins authored two amendments that were included in the final bill, requiring the Corps to prioritize the Southwest Coastal Louisiana project and to improve the land acquisition process for new projects.

The Southwest Coastal Louisiana 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. Congressman Higgins’ amendment moves the project out of the study phase and prioritizes construction under the Corps list of approved projects.

Congressman Higgins also secured language that improves the easement process and empowers greater 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 allow stakeholders to begin construction with a minimum interest in real property. This will expedite construction and reduce costs for new infrastructure projects.

Congressman Higgins issued the following statement:

“In addition to record funding for dredging projects, my office has secured language that prioritizes water infrastructure in South Louisiana and improves the way that the Army Corps conducts business. This water infrastructure bill is headed to the President’s desk, and both of our amendments represent significant wins for our state. We have prioritized the Southwest Coastal Louisiana project for construction, which advances flood mitigation and coastal restoration efforts in the western parishes. Further, we have provided the Army Corps with flexibility to move stalled projects forward by allowing minimum interest for land acquisition. This will have a major impact on establishing sediment deposit sites for dredge materials. We continue to work closely with the Army Corps and industry partners to maintain our water management systems and advance projects that benefit South Louisiana.”

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