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In the News

CPRA announces 2021 budget

By Cyndi Sellers

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has released its draft budget for 2021, and the agency appears to be on track toward its target goal of $1 billion a year for coastal projects, planning to spend $958 million next year and $1.27 billion in 2023.

For 2021, $718 million, or 75 percent of the budget, will go toward actual construction, and $104 million toward engineering and design. Sixty projects will be in construction across the state. By 2023, 89 percent of the budget will go toward construction costs, including the start of the Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control project.

In the Southwest region there will be six projects in construction: Cameron-Creole Freshwater Introduction, Cameron Meadows Marsh Creation and Terracing, Rabbit Island Restoration, South Grand Chenier Marsh Creation, Rockefeller Piers and Signage, and Rockefeller Refuge Shoreline Protection. Eight projects will be in engineering and design: No Name Bayou Marsh Creation and Nourishment, Oyster Lake Marsh Creation and Nourishment, Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Cycles 6 and 7, Long Point Bayou Marsh Creation, Freshwater Bayou Marsh Creation, South Grand Chenier Marsh Creation, Southwest Coastal Louisiana Feasibility Study, and the Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control Measures.

CPRA projects are funded through state mineral revenues, GOMESA offshore revenues, Deepwater Horizon Spill dollars, and other grant-based programs such as the federal CWPPRA program. No state general fund money goes to fund CPRA restoration and protection projects. All projects are part of the State Master Plan, a fifty-year plan to save as much of the coast as possible.

In the public comment period, Ralph Libersat of Abbeville noted that CWPPRA money mostly goes toward marsh creation, not shoreline protection. CWPPRA, also known as the Breaux Bill, is designed to preserve, protect and restore wetlands.

Cameron Parish Port Director Clair Marceaux added, “If all of us - economic development, government, non-government organizations, oil and gas, LNG, recreational and commercial fishermen - don’t work together in unified fashion, this crisis we’re discussing will continue to be a crisis.” She pointed out that LNG companies are spending tens of billions of dollars to locate on the Louisiana coast and in the process building reefs and marsh.

In Cameron Parish alone, she said, $35 billion in LNG facilities have been built, and are now exporting to 35 countries, making Cameron Parish the third largest producer of LNG in the world. An additional $40 billion in LNG projects now moving through the FERC process and a $1 billion port development project in the planning stage will add more value to the coastal area.

The comment period for the 2021 CPRA Annual Plan continues until Feb. 15. The entire plan can be viewed at Coastal.la.gov/Our plan/Annual Plan. Comments may be emailed to coastal@la.gov, with the subject FY 2021 Annual Plan, or mailed to CPRA, 150 Terrace Ave., Baton Rouge LA 70802.

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