WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) and nearly 40 Republican colleagues delivered a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) calling out the Biden administration’s plan to defund projects related to fossil fuels.
In the letter, Members of Congress outlined concerns with the Biden administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Request, which included language directing USACE not to fund projects that support the production, consumption, or efficient movement of fossil fuels. This provision would likely jeopardize funding for maritime ports that move fossil fuel energy products, including energy ports in Louisiana like the Port of Lake Charles, Port of Iberia, and Port of Morgan City.
“These ‘key objectives’ in the budget request extend beyond establishing an agency priority; they purport to pick winners and losers by excluding an entire industry from congressional appropriations and federal resources,” wrote the lawmakers. “Since Congress specifically dedicates funds for ports that transport fossil fuel products, it undermines Congressional direction for the Executive Branch to unilaterally decide not to fund these items. Not only does the Administration’s statement about fossil fuels overstep its authority, but it also shortsightedly ignores the need for fossil fuels to create plastics, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other items Americans depend on.”
“Representatives from the Corps indicated that the language included in the budget estimate may be implemented through redirecting Corps funding and prioritization of work away from ports and navigation projects that support energy products and commodities. If accurate, these changes would devastate the regional ports and waterways and the economies that rely on them,” continued the lawmakers.
“American ports and waterways do not exclusively handle energy products; the other commodities and industries that utilize this infrastructure will be affected,” the lawmakers wrote. “The U.S. maritime infrastructure system acts as a critical link in the American economy consisting of harbors, ports, channels, locks, dams, and waterways that deliver $4.6 trillion worth of goods and supporting more than 23 million U.S. jobs. These actions could also drive up the cost of energy for consumers when prices are already at record high levels.”
The full letter is available here.