Public hearing held for $1.1 billion Louisiana levee

Published: Jan. 13, 2012 at 4:25 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2012 at 10:42 PM CST
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Louisiana levee public hearing
Louisiana levee public hearing
Design for levee south of Lake Charles
Design for levee south of Lake Charles

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A public hearing regarding plans to protect Louisiana's fragile coastline is in effect at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

On Thursday, January 12th in New Orleans, Governor Jindal's coast team announced plans for a bold 50-year $50 billion program to protect Louisiana's fragile coastline which includes a $1.1 billion levee to build around Lake Charles.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's plan would be funded by increased oil and gas royalties, fines from the BP PLC oil spill, and other sources.

The bulk of the spending will be focused on New Orleans and southeast Louisiana, but there is a number of flood control projects planned in Cameron Parish as well as the big levee project planned for Lake Charles.

The project is split into two phases. Much of the SWLA projects, like the levee, lay in that second phase of projects to begin after year 2032. Those who came out to the public hearing at the Civic Center expressed this area should be a priority and shouldn't be in tier two of the project.

One of the big issues was coastal protection for Cameron Parish. The coastal protection plans have few projects for that area. Residents and concerned SWLA citizens think Cameron Parish should receive more protection.

"They have done a great job putting this plan together. I wish they would have got more coastal input," Darryl Farque, Cameron Parish Police Jury President said.

"I'm not going to say it's not fair. I'm just going to say that it's...they should have looked at your coastal parish first," Farque said.

Others gave their opinions on why the focus should be more on the coastal areas rather than inland.

"Cameron Parish is our front yard. They have key national assets other than population," Carolyn Woosley of Lake Charles said.

"We can't afford to lose any more shoreline," Laurie Cormier, Coastal Zone Manager for Calcasieu Parish Police Jury said.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority listened to each of the concerned citizens. The CPRA will continue to listen to the public's commentary until Feb. 25. After that, the CPRA will review the final plans before submitting it to legislature on March 26.

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