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Biden and Colleagues Use Congressional Budget Tricks to Defund Louisiana Flood Protection and Raise Gasoline Prices

August 24, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The irresponsible U.S. Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) planned budget announced by the Biden Administration threatens to further drive-up gasoline cost and worsen flooding in our communities.

Specifically, in President Biden’s budget, the Corps is prohibited from funding any project that could be construed as “lowering the cost of consumption” of gasoline and natural gas. In other words, critical flood control, hurricane protection, coastal restoration, and river dredging projects in Louisiana could be defunded by the Biden Administration. In any area with energy infrastructure – which means all of South Louisiana – this is a direct threat to jobs, the economy and the safety of our families.

Read the letter here.

Graves joined colleagues in this effort to raise serious concerns about the Administration’s dangerous priorities. Graves is demanding the Corps leadership address these new criteria calling for no future projects to benefit the movement or production of domestic energy – another stomach-punch to Louisiana’s energy sector and a blatant contradiction of the White House’s own supposed goal of bolstering the country’s transportation infrastructure.

The Biden Administration is yet again undermining the role of Congress – potentially violating the law. The vague decision-making would yet again disproportionately impact national security, critical energy infrastructure, and access to reliable and affordable energy.

“The Biden budget puts flood control, coastal restoration, river dredging and hurricane protection projects in Louisiana in jeopardy. This is beyond irresponsible to say that communities with energy infrastructure – powering the nation’s economy – have their projects defunded because of President Biden’s opposition to American oil and gas. Just like we are seeing with the Afghanistan disaster, no one has thought through the incredible impact of these reckless policies. What is the president going to tell these communities when we have thousands of flooded homes, businesses, and livelihoods destroyed? You can look at the data. This Biden Administration policy has effectively given a preference to foreign energy. We are already seeing wild increases in dependence upon Russian and Chinese energy supplies – they have been the beneficiaries of the White House’s energy and climate change policies. Every time we shut down domestic energy production and cut jobs in Louisiana, that is a new job in Russia and China. We will fight to stop these irresponsible and unilateral decisions that degrade America. It's political decisions like this that undermine the seriousness of reaching long-term infrastructure investments,” Graves said.

Background:

President Biden released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Request and one of the key Corps objectives is, “not funding work that directly subsidizes fossil fuels including work that lowers the cost of production, lowers the cost of consumption, or raises the revenues retained by producers of fossil fuels.”

Graves has shown this is a recurring theme where the Administration continues to invent criteria on how to spend already federally allocated dollars.

Just recently, On March 25, 2021, Graves asked Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pete Buttigieg about how under the new criteria for Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants set by the current DOT, there is an apparent disregard for legal requirements in exchange for unquantifiable political objectives. The key program objectives established distort, undermine, and even contradict the objectives required by law. Graves first brought the issue to Buttigieg’s attention the week before March 25, 2021.

In June 2021, Graves continued to question how DOT moved forward in giving nearly $1 billion in grants to transportation and infrastructure projects with subjective criteria, objectives, and goals. Graves keeps making the case that Gulf Coast states should be prioritized for the INFRA grants. 

At the time, Graves said, “Nearly $1 billion was given out this week in INFRA grants without proper criteria. We raised this issue to Secretary Buttigieg in March, and this is why we have concerns about how this Administration is running things. Not one project in Louisiana made the list despite our energy, resiliency and infrastructure priorities, or our traffic and flooding problems,” Graves said.

 

 

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