BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — President Joe Biden approved of an emergency declaration for saltwater intrusion in Louisiana Wednesday, which will direct federal resources and assistance to the state.
Gov. John Bel Edwards requested the declaration after levels of freshwater in the Mississippi River have lowered because of drought conditions, resulting in saltwater moving upriver. He said some parishes are already being affected.
“I’m grateful to the Biden administration for making this request a priority and responding quickly to help the people of South Louisiana,” said Edwards. “Efforts to mitigate the impact of the saltwater intrusion are currently underway and other projects are being considered based on the projections being received from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
A release from the White House said, “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”
Parishes that get their water from the river, Edwards said, are Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Jefferson and Orleans. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has conducted river surveys to monitor saltwater.
“This 90-day approval of our Emergency Declaration will help our state and local partners with the costs of any mitigation efforts and protective measures,” said Edwards. “As this event unfolds, we will continue to analyze the emergency efforts and impacts to determine if further requests will be necessary.”
Click here to get updates from state officials on the saltwater intrusion.