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Higgins, Senators Urge Funding for Freshwater Bayou Lock

March 20, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) recently authored a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), urging full funding for the Freshwater Bayou Lock, which is located in Vermilion Parish.

The Freshwater Bayou Lock provides access from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Intracoastal City for the offshore oil supply and commercial fishing industries. The lock usually ranks in the top 10 in the nation in terms of commercial lockage, and also serves as a mechanism for salinity control of the Mermentau Basin.

Proposed funding for FY 2019 has been cut from $1.4 million to $759,000, which is an insufficient level of funding to provide the level of service mandated by the Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS). Failure to fully fund the project could result in failure of the north gates, which would result in saltwater intrusion into the Mermentau and Vermilion Basin, affecting over 300,000 acres of farmland.

“The Freshwater Bayou Lock serves a critical role for South Louisiana’s oil and gas, and shrimping industries,” said Congressman Higgins. “Securing full funding for the project will sustain the mandated level of service and allow necessary repairs to lock structures. We are heavily engaged in efforts to improve water management infrastructure in South Louisiana.”

“The Freshwater Bayou Lock is crucial for offshore oil and commercial fishing industries, and the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Corps should restore adequate funding to maintain the lock and the Louisiana jobs it supports.”

“The Freshwater Bayou Lock needs to be operational 24/7 in order to properly function as a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil workers and fishermen,” said U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. “Unfortunately, the current funding request shortchanges the lockage and would result in a reduction in operating hours.  I am confident that this oversight will be fixed.”

Read full-text of the letter here.