Corps Announces Another Delay for Morganza

Published by The Courier

August 21, 2012


A five-year study updating the cost and construction standards of the U.S. Army Corps' Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection system will be delayed for six months to a year, according to local levee leaders.

The delay is another disappointment in the decades-long fight to get federal hurricane protection for Terrebonne Parish, according to U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La, and David Vitter, R-La.

“The residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes are deeply disappointed in this news, and on their behalf I want to strongly state that 20 years is far and away enough time to study and analyze the importance of this project,” Landrieu said. “The time for study is over and the time for action is now.”

Both lawmakers said they would urge the corps to complete the report as soon as possible.

“This delay is another example of the Corps' unacceptable foot-dragging and gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars,” said Vitter. “This project has been authorized twice, and the Corps' continued delay is a slap in the face to south Louisianaians who are under threat of flooding every summer.”

Morganza is a system of levees, floodgates and a lock on the Houma Navigation Canal aimed at protecting residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm flooding. The corps has been working on the federal project since 1992.

Because of the lengthy corps process, the levee project has been a controversial topic in Louisiana.

When the project finally won authorization in Congress in 2007, 15 years after it was conceived, it was kicked back to the corps for another round of study. Corps officials said the project would have to be updated with new flood protection standards enacted after Hurricane Katrina, and a new price tag would have to be calculated for it.

Terrebonne Levee Director Reggie Dupre said he was notified of the delay by New Orleans Army Corps District Commander Col. Edward Flemming last night.

Flemming said that the corps would not be able to determine when the report could be finished until new economic models were run determining the cost benefit ratio of the project, Dupre said. But he was told that the delay would be at least six months, if not a year.

With the project stretching into its 21st year of study, “this solidifies the reason that our decision to continue building hurricane protection on our own was a good decision,” Dupre said.

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