U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) met with Lieutenant General Tom Bostick, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers yesterday, to discuss repeated delays and a path forward on the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane protection project for Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. Terrebonne and Lafourche parish experienced significant damage from past hurricanes that could have been prevented had the Morganza levee system been in place. Vitter has asked the Corps to put forth an viable, cost-effective project that would provide an adequate level of flood protection for that region.
"The Morganza delays are beyond frustrating. The delay is another example of the Corps' unacceptable foot-dragging and gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, and that's exactly what I expressed to Lieutenant General Bostick," Vitter said. "Morganza to the Gulf has been authorized twice by Congress, and the Corps' continued delay is a slap in the face to south Louisianaians who are under threat of flooding every summer."
"There is no question that areas of Terrebonne and Lafourche are vulnerable as a result of Corps' delays. These same communities now risk the Corps pricing them out of protection with a $10.6 billion proposal that will never get funded. We appreciate Ranking Member Vitter's efforts to nudge the Corps off of the rodent wheel," said Garrett Graves, Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.
"Thanks to Senator Vitter for relentlessly looking out for the best interest of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, and working on a reasonable path forward for Morganza. This path will allow state and local officials to continue building the first lifts of Morganza while our federal leaders work on getting a completed system," said Reggie Dupre, Director of the Terrebonne Parish Levee Board.
Sen. Vitter has specific requests for LTG Bostick and the Corps and personally asked for the following during the meeting:
* Provide a list of viable, cost-effective solutions for Morganza using a combination of the Corps' general engineering and design standard and post-Katrina protection standards.
* Provide a firm deadline for the submission of a Chief's Report on Morganza.
* Provide a path forward where the state can act as the lead project manager to help cut construction costs and expedite delivery of Morganza.
Morganza is a system of levees, floodgates and a lock on the Houma Navigation Canal aimed at protecting residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm flooding. The Corps has been working on the federal project since 1992.
Vitter is the top-ranking Republican on the Senate subcommittee which oversees the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.