Opposition grows to the state’s coastal restoration plan

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CHALMETTE, La. – Opposition is growing to the state’s plan to restore the coast with the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project.

This is the plan to punch a hole in the Mississippi levee just below Belle Chasse to allow the river water to re-build lost sediment along the coast.

Now, the state’s number two elected official, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser is joining the opposition.

Nungesser believes the state’s Coastal Protection Restoration Authority also known as CPRA needs to be more forthcoming when it comes to the potential impacts of the project. Tuesday afternoon, Nungesser outlined his concerns before the St. Bernard Parish Council.

Meanwhile, CPRA claims they weren’t invited to the public meeting.

Council Member at Large Kerri Callais said, “We want to build up our coast, but not at the sacrifice of our livelihoods, our economies, tourism and the identities of both of our parishes.”

Lt. Governor and former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser agrees. He maintains the CPRA doesn’t have the people of South Louisiana’s best interests at heart.

Nungesser said, “Wouldn’t you want to know upfront if it is going to destroy our way of life? We don’t think it will, we don’t think it will be that bad…who does that? What is pushing this?”

Nungesser is concerned not only about the impact on people’s way of life and jobs, but the impact on marine life as well.

“Answer the question…can they legally use money from BP to restore the estuary to destroy it? They’re admitting they’re going to destroy it. We’re going to give some money for dolphins and fixing the turtles and put refridgeration on shrimp boats and raise the road in Plaquemines if they flood…no! Give us the truth. Give us the facts,” Nungesser said.

CPRA claims it was not invited to the council meeting.

In a letter, CPRA told the council it was only informed of the meeting when the agenda was posted online. CPRA asked for its letter to be read into the minutes to “balance the narrative.”

Nungesser ultimately agrees there is a need to restore the coast, but says the diversion project is not the way to do it.

“We gotta start being open and honest or we’re never going to do the right thing, we’re never going to get the right thing done for our coast or for Louisiana,” Nungesser said.

CPRA is collecting public input on the project until May 4th.

Click here for the link to weigh in.

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