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Louisiana Delegation Sends Letter to President Trump Urging Funding for Channel Maintenance

May 16, 2017
Press Release
Delegation stresses importance of Calcasieu Channel, Port of Lake Charles

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) and the Louisiana congressional delegation sent a letter to President Trump yesterday, requesting that the President prioritize Army Corps of Engineers Operational and Maintenance funding in future appropriations requests and in an upcoming infrastructure package, stressing the importance of the Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Channel to the local, national, and global economies.

Signing the letter to President Trump are U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D., (R-LA) and John Kennedy (R-LA), and U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Ralph Abraham, M.D., (R-LA), and Garret Graves (R-LA).

The letter explains that the Port is not seeking funding to widen or deepen the channel, only that the federal government maintain the channel at the congressionally mandated dimensions, 400 feet wide by 40 feet deep.

“There are some spots where the only reason the Calcasieu Channel is 40 feet deep is because the boats themselves dredge a narrow spot,” said Rep. Higgins. “More than $100 billion in projects and regional investment are dependent on this channel and the Port of Lake Charles. The maintenance costs required pale in comparison to the economic benefits for our region.”

“I commend Rep. Higgins for leading the Louisiana Congressional delegation in this important effort to secure funding to bring the Calcasieu Channel to its fully authorized depth and width. His leadership and advocacy for this important project has been critical. In addition to accommodating roughly 1,000 deep draft vessels annually and providing more than $900 million in federal revenue, the Calcasieu Channel is an epicenter of job creation, supporting 36,000 direct and indirect jobs,” said Rep. Scalise. “The Channel and surrounding infrastructure are also critical components of America's energy and national security, storing one-third of the U.S.’s strategic petroleum reserves, and housing a complex array of energy pipelines and the Henry Hub, which serves as a major natural gas hub for our nation. It’s important that the channel be brought to its fully authorized level, and I look forward to continue working with Congressman Higgins on this important project, along with the rest of the Louisiana delegation.”

“The projects dependent on the Calcasieu Channel are vital to economic health of the area, and they will benefit the entire state of Louisiana once fully realized. I thank Congressman Higgins for leading this effort, and I look forward to working with him and the Corps to see that the channel gets the funds it needs to be successful,” Dr. Abraham said.

“We request that you keep in mind the importance of America’s ports, especially the need to keep critical waterways like the Calcasieu Ship Channel dredged and funded at congressionally mandated levels annually as you and your staff continue consideration of an infrastructure package and any future budget proposal. Clearly, the creation of good paying American jobs, increased state and federal revenue, and reinvestment in American infrastructure falls perfectly in line with your promise to bring renewed federal focus to America’s failing infrastructure,” wrote the Louisiana congressional delegation.

Read the full letter here.