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‘God help us’: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser addresses CPRA on Barataria Sediment Diversion

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project makes its way to Baton Rouge where Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser confronted the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. It was also the first time the group met with key seafood industry stakeholders.

It was another heated meeting between the CPRA and stakeholders against the project. Their message is the same-- they want more research and an alternative to sediment diversion.

Those whose livelihoods depend on Louisiana’s seafood industry met once again with the CPRA expressing strong opposition against the project-- which would help create land by delivering more sediment from the Mississippi River through a man-made channel in a levee in Plaquemines Parish.

“I do believe that there are better ways to handle our coastal erosion and rebuilding our wetlands,” said Chalin DeLaune, chair of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.

DeLaune said the CPRA’s diversion project to address land loss might not be the best solution.

“I think that the approach CPRA has taken is one they feel works best for them for whatever reasons that be-- maybe it’s the easiest and sometimes the easiest thing to do isn’t the right thing to do,” he said.

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser was also in opposition to the project saying more research needs to be done, especially when it comes to the mitigation measures concerning impacts to wildlife.

“We’re destroying the estuary that all life begins in the Gulf and you’ve got to do the full environmental impact for a Walmart and a Home Depot as you heard Chip say? But you don’t want to do it when you know it’s going to kill dolphins- oh we’re going to give $20million to mitigate. When the dolphins dead, you can’t mitigate,” said Nungesser.

Chip Kline, chair of the CPRA, said $305 million is set aside for mitigation measures. He said the science through the Environmental Impact Survey (EIS) is driving the decision-making. And if the project isn’t implemented, he said Louisiana will continue to suffer from land loss

“Every federal study done on coastal restoration in Louisiana calls for reconnecting rivers to coastal marshes. The Mississippi River literally built the land we stand on today,” said Kline. “This project is about mimicking the natural process that created land, to begin with.”

Nungesser disagrees-- he worries it’ll do more harm than good.

“God help us if we waste this BP money. We won’t get another chance,” he said. “The two parishes where we are building these diversions are against it. Why are we ramming it down their throat?”

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