WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) announced projects critical to Louisiana will be prioritized in the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.
A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he also secured funding for projects in the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Dr. Cassidy offered the following statement:
“Funding for coastal restoration, whether it be through revenue sharing or appropriations, is a local, state and national priority. Louisiana’s coast is a buffer protecting families and communities from storm surge and is essential to U.S. energy security. Louisiana families’ interests are national interests, they must be protected.”
- Secured $10 million to start Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) projects that will work to protect and restore Louisiana’s coast. LCA consists of several diversion, shoreline restoration, and wetland protection projects. Louisiana’s coast contributes to Louisiana’s economy and the nation’s economy—producing a third of the nation’s seafood, home to the largest port system in America, and contributing a large portion of our domestic energy. Wetlands serve as a natural buffer against storm surge to help protect families, communities and infrastructure.
- Secured $1.254 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), almost $400 million above the President’s Budget Request. The HMTF provides critical resources for construction, dredging, and maintenance projects along the inland waterway system. In the House of Representatives, Dr. Cassidy supported the reforms included in the WRRDA conference report that set a funding target of $1.25 billion for the HMTF in fiscal year 2016. Funding in the FY16 Energy & Water appropriations bill meets this target funding level for our nation’s waterway infrastructure.
· Secured $109 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Investigations account for navigation investigations and Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) needs, which is $12 million above the President’s Budget request. Enhanced PED funding allows many of America’s most imperative energy and military waterways to efficiently partner with USACE moving strategically important harbors and waterways forward toward construction, such as the Calcasieu Ship Channel in southwest Louisiana.
· Restricts the implementation, execution or modification of Executive Order 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which would change the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) to account for uncertainties associated with climate change. This could directly or indirectly impact Louisiana homes and businesses by setting a more stringent flood risk standard—increasing costs of construction, mitigation and has the potential to deter federal projects from coming to and staying in Louisiana. Dr. Cassidy recently pressed the President to provide information on the mandate and stop its implementation.