State officials announce $160 million barrier island project
Louisiana officials on Friday announced a $160 million project to restore and nourish two barrier islands and one headland on the southern perimeter of the Terrebonne Basin.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is fully funding the project out of more than $2.5 billion from BP and Transocean meant to benefit the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that were affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
Dredging is expected to begin in early 2020 and take approximately two years to complete. About 9.2 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from the Gulf of Mexico to create 1,110 acres of beach, dune, and marsh habitat on portions of Trinity-East Island, Timbalier Island and the West Belle Pass Headland, officials said.
Public hearings announced for $1.2 billion spending plan
The Louisiana Office of Community Development seeks public input on the state’s plan for $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant flood mitigation funds. The plan details the state’s approach for using the funds, including projects, data collection and modeling, and policy measures that advance the Louisiana Watershed Initiative’s long-term resilience objectives, the OCD says.
Comments can be submitted online beginning Sept. 26, or by email, mail, fax or in person at one of four public hearings, which will be streamed on the Watershed Initiative’s Facebook page. Hearings are planned for:
• Sept. 19, 1 p.m., at the City-Parish Council Auditorium in Lafayette.
• Sept. 25, 1:30 p.m., at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
• Oct. 24, 1:30 p.m., Ouachita Parish Emergency Operations Center in West Monroe.
• Oct. 29, 6 p.m., St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers, Mandeville.
PAR releases constitutional amendment guide
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana has released its annual guide to the potential constitutional amendments voters will consider this year. As in the past, the guide explains the current situation each amendment purports to address and lays out arguments for and against, without taking sides.
There will be four proposed amendments on the ballot this year.
“This year’s lineup will be especially challenging [for voters] as the four in question are among the more arcane proposals citizens have faced yet,” the report says.
The proposals would create a property tax exemption for goods destined for the Outer Continental Shelf, allow the Education Excellence Fund to finance three more schools and public TV, allow the Board of Tax Appeals to rule on constitutional questions, and give New Orleans the ability to create a residential property tax exemption for affordable housing developments.
U.S. Sen. Cassidy announces $2.6 million grant for Louisiana health clinics
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy on Friday announced $2.6 million in federal funds meant “to provide health care to underserved communities and vulnerable populations,” Cassidy’s office says.
The grants, awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, will be distributed to clinics in New Orleans, Port Sulphur, Franklin and Winnfield “to expand access to affordable, accessible, quality and cost-effective primary health care services.” Each clinic will receive $650,000.