Conservation Groups: After 30 Years of Studies, Get Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Constructed Quickly
As public scoping meetings begin, groups call on permitting agencies to act swiftly
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(NEW ORLEANS – July 20, 2017) Later today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) will hold its first public scoping meeting to inform development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, with additional meetings to be held through July 27. During the scoping process, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the Corps on the project and raise any issues they would like to see addressed in the EIS.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, which has been studied for decades, is a Louisiana Coastal Master Plan project and would be the first sediment diversion constructed to reconnect the Mississippi River with nearby wetlands to build and maintain tens of thousands of acres of land over time.
National and local conservation organizations committed to coastal Louisiana restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – issued the following statement in response:
“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion has been studied for more than 30 years – now is the time to get it constructed. While our organizations look forward to providing detailed input during scoping to inform a strong, science-based EIS, our take-home message is simple: the Barataria Basin stands to lose an additional 550 square miles of land in the next 50 years unless we act now. That is a future that our communities, wildlife and industries simply cannot afford.
“Unless we put our rivers and their sediment back to work quickly to build and maintain land, our region will only become more vulnerable to the worsening forces of sea level rise, land loss and storms. We ask the Corps and other agencies involved in the permitting process to act with the speed required to match the urgency of our land loss crisis. This means getting a scoping report completed and released quickly, and identifying additional opportunities to get the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion permitted and under construction sooner.”
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, email@example.com
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces an ongoing and severe land loss crisis, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at mississippiriverdelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.