U.S. Senator David Vitter announced that he secured a reauthorization of his Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act that passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today. The bill would continue restoration efforts in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin for five more years through 2017. It now awaits consideration from the full Senate.
"Getting the Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act through committee is a huge step towards continuing restoration efforts for the region," Vitter said. "I'll be urging my colleagues in the Senate for a swift process to complete the bill and getting it signed into law."
The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act was the first bill that Vitter helped pass into law as a freshman Congressman in 2001. The Act created a partnership between the federal government and local stakeholders to restore and support the lake and its surrounding areas. It also granted Lake Pontchartrain similar status as the Great Lakes and Florida Everglades restoration efforts. Through this program, Vitter has enabled nearly a decade of cleanup efforts and restoration in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. He also got it reauthorized in 2006.
Lake Pontchartrain is one of the largest estuaries in the United States and is surrounded by over 1.5 million residents, making it the most populated area in the state of Louisiana. The 16 parishes in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin are Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington.