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Graves, Scalise Announce Morganza-to-the-Gulf will Receive Over $12 Million in New Start Construction Funding

January 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.) and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced today that the Morganza-to-the-Gulf Hurricane Protection project will receive $12.46 million in New Start Construction funding from the Corps of Engineers. The funding will increase flood protection and further protect economic activity in South Louisiana. The project became eligible for funding in the government funding bill last month through language inserted by Whip Scalise and Rep. Garret Graves.

Congressman Graves statement:

“Over three years ago, we began working with the Corps of Engineers to reimagine this critical hurricane project to incorporate progress and lessons learned from the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District (TLCD), North Lafourche Levee District (NLLD), South Lafourche Levee District (SLLD), and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). As a result, we were able to reduce the project cost by nearly two-thirds. Rep. Scalise and I worked closely with the House Appropriations Committee to make the revised Morganza project eligible for federal construction funding and were successful in getting our language signed into law last month. Since then, we have met with multiple officials at the Office of Management and Budget and Corps of Engineers to secure funding for the project – we are happy to have received word that this will be done. Our state and local partners have committed nearly $1 billion in funding to the project so far, and this announcement is a milestone in making this important project a reality. This win is going to open up an entirely new funding stream to provide the level of hurricane protection that citizens in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes deserve.”

Whip Scalise statement:

“Today’s announcement is great news for the Morganza-to-the-Gulf flood protection project and the thousands of families and businesses in Southeast Louisiana who rely on strong hurricane and flood protection. After years of facing bureaucratic red tape, this vital hurricane and storm surge protection project will receive federal funding to help build upon the local investments in the project. Congressman Graves and I worked hard to secure this authorization in House-passed legislation so the Morganza project could be eligible for this critical funding. 

“Morganza-to-the-Gulf will not only provide much-needed flood protection in Southeast Louisiana, it will also protect the billions of dollars in economic activity transported through our region that provide valuable energy resources to fuel this country while allowing our state to dominate in domestic and international maritime and energy commerce.

“I applaud the Corps of Engineers for supporting Morganza-to-the-Gulf, and I will continue working to ensure they have the necessary resources to complete this project.”

Louisiana leaders and stakeholders also praised the Morganza-to-the-Gulf funding:

“Wow, this has been such a team effort and such welcomed news,” said Dwayne Bourgeois, Executive Director, North Lafourche Conservation, Levee, and Drainage District. “We have worked diligently with the Corps at all levels and the State CPRA to come up with innovative solutions to rethink the cost of this project. This was based on real world experience learned from the tremendous work done by the Terrebonne Levee District, Terrebonne Parish and the State. With that ready to go, our DC Delegation worked tirelessly to get the appropriations language correct to suit our project. They made it their number one priority and they got it done.”

“I’m excited to hear about funding dedicated to Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System," said Lafourche Parish President, Archie Chiasson. "Residents of our parish for years have taxed themselves to be able to provide flood protection with no federal help. This is a true testament to our collaborative work both in state and with our Federal Delegation and we can’t wait to see this project continue to move along with this increased funding."

"The Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System is vital for hurricane and flood protection in Terrebonne Parish, and this announcement is welcome news for our community and our way of life," said Terrebonne Parish President, Gordy Dove. "Along with the State and local assistance in this project, the newly announced federal funding will help us move this important project forward. The Morganza protection system is vital to providing flood protection for our citizens. Terrebonne Parish has gone from as many as 11,000 homes and businesses flooding to no flooding in the storm season of 2020. The Morganza levee system now provides continuous protection for our citizens. The efforts of Congressmen Steve Scalise and Garret Graves along with our Federal Delegation in securing federal money on this project is a great step in continuing to provide this critical protection for the residents of our parish."

"Congressman Scalise and Graves along with their staff worked the hardest in our delegation to gain this vital designation so that work can continue on this incredibly complex flood protection project for 250,000 residents and businesses that are vital to our country’s national security," said Henri Boulet, Executive Director, Morganza Action Coalition. "We thank them for not giving-up and for helping our community successfully engage both the U.S. Corps of Engineers and larger Administration officials on the criticality of the Morganza to the Gulf Flood Protection System."

“Getting Federal ‘New Start’ construction funding for the Morganza to the Gulf (MTG) Hurricane Protection Risk Reduction Project is great news," said Reggie Dupree, Executive Director, Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District. "A very special thanks goes to the members of our Congressional delegation who helped in getting this huge next step done. MTG was started 29 years ago (in 1992) when Congress authorized the Corps to determine what needs to be done for south central Louisiana to have adequate protection. Since then, as an elected official and Director of the Terrebonne Levee District, I have always considered the MTG project as providing the best chance for the sustainability and survivability of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. Every Louisiana Governor in the past 20 years have assisted us in acquiring match funding for MTG. The leaders of CPRA, including Congressman Garret Graves and current Chairman Chip Kline, never wavered in trying to get us to this point. With the ‘New Start’ Federal funding, I sincerely think that it is now possible for us to meet our joint goal of having 100 year protection by 2035 so that our citizens will not only get the adequate protection they need but can also get the financial benefit of lower insurance premiums. Again, thank you to everyone who helped us get here, including the citizens of both parishes who taxed themselves on multiple occasions to continue moving forward.”

“Flood protection advocates who live in south Louisiana have supported comprehensive flood protection formally since 1995," said Windell Curole, General Manager, South Lafourche Levee District. "Morganza to the Gulf represents the kind of project which provides flood protection, wetland restoration, and economic benefits as a part of our coastal plan for the working coast, which benefits not only Louisiana, but the entire nation.”

Background:

 

  • The Corps worked with the state of Louisiana and local levee districts to bring the project’s cost estimate down from over $10 billion to approximately $3 billion. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, approved the updated project cost analysis in 2019.

 

  • In October 2019, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.) met with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, to advocate for additional resources for Morganza-to-the-Gulf.

 

  • In January 2020, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.) secured $1.25 million in federal funding to conduct pre-engineering and design (PED)  assessments on the project. This was a critical step in preparing the project for eligibility to receive significant federal funding.

 

  • In February 2020, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.) hosted a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director, Russel Vought, to advocate for federal funding for the Morganza-to-the-Gulf Hurricane Protection System.

 

  • In order for the project to qualify for federal construction funding, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.) secured language in the Fiscal Year 2021 House Energy and Water Appropriations bill to allow New Start eligibility for the Corps Mississippi River and Tributaries account, which houses the Morganza-to-the-Gulf project and historically has not received New Start eligibility. Since this provision was not included in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill, Scalise and Graves fought for the House position to be included in the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus & COVID Relief Package. Their language was signed into law in late December.

 

  • Earlier this month, Reps. Graves and Scalise wrote a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and Director of the Office of Management and Budget to formally advocate for federal funding for Morganza. This letter was followed up with several calls with both agencies to discuss the significant national value of investments made to the project.

 

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