Congressman Steve Scalise today issued the following statement after winning several victories for families in southeast Louisiana. The House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act with an amendment by Scalise and Rep. Cedric Richmond to ensure that the Corps of Engineers account for the regional benefits of each proposed flood protection project. The bill also includes a Manager's Amendment authored by the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee allowing construction to begin on Morganza to the Gulf.
"While we're still working to strengthen the language for Morganza to the Gulf in the final bill, I'm glad the House moved today to pass this crucial bill to compliment the Senate's water resources bill spearheaded by Senator Vitter earlier this year," Scalise said. "Among the many key reforms included in this bill is an amendment that Cedric Richmond and I offered to ensure that the Corps starts including the economic importance of flood protection projects in its cost-benefit analysis.
"Additionally, the Manager's Amendment included in this bill finally allows construction on Morganza to move forward and be credited after more than two decades of delays and over $70 million in studies. Families in south Louisiana have long-demanded the ability to begin construction on this project, and I'm glad Congress has finally granted them the flexibility they deserve.
"The importance of the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane protection system cannot be overstated, as more than 200,000 Louisiana families remain vulnerable to flooding after decades of broken promises from the federal government and bureaucratic red-tape. I will continue working to ensure that critical projects like Morganza to the Gulf are included in the final bill."
The House bill will now head to a conference committee to be coupled with the water resources bill passed by the Senate.
The Scalise-Richmond Amendment directs the Corps to include the following in its economic analysis of a proposed flood protection project:
·The benefits from a reduction in national and regional economic losses, such as a spike in gasoline prices caused by a hurricane.
·The benefits from a reduction in flood damage to public and private property and infrastructure.
·The benefits to public safety from the protection of important evacuation routes.