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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Agency votes against using BP restoration funds on bridge

Agency votes against using BP restoration funds on bridge

A proposal to use portions of fine money from the BP oil spill in 2010 for construction of the elevated LA1 improvement project was defeated by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) at its meeting in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

Instead of using oil spill fine money for the highway improvements, a compromise was reached in which the CPRA will develop criteria in which the highway project can use funding from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act (GOMSEA), an act passed by the U.S. Congress in which the coastal states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama will receive 27 percent of oil and as revenues in state waters up to three miles off their coastlines. Beyond the three miles limit, these states will receive 37 percent royalties in federal waters beginning in 2017, according to the Act.

The compromise was reached because CPRA members, as well as numerous environmental groups, felt that the BP oil spill fine monies should be spent on coastal restoration projects. To that end, Governor Bobby Jindal had backed a proposal to spend any residual oil spill fine monies on LA1 improvement work, a proposal that was opposed by the CPRA and environmental groups, which led to Wednesday’s compromise.

In a prepared statement, LA1 Coalition Executive Director thanked Governor Bobby Jindal for his support of the highway project and also thanked and pledged to work with all the coastal entities to maintain a balance toward both coastal restoration and infrastructure improvements.

“The LA1 Coalition is grateful to both Governor Jindal and the CPRA for passing a resolution with a goal of providing funding to advance the LA1 project. We must recognize that we are not in an either/or position relative to coastal restoration and infrastructure, we need them both. In Louisiana, wildlife and fisheries coexist with oil and gas and restoration is intertwined with infrastructure. Without projects like LA1, we lose our ability to live and work on our coast, and ultimately lose the benefits of coastal restoration,” Boulet said on behalf of the coalition.