The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority met Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.  Image via Zoom

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority met Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

(The Center Square) – The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority expects to spend $887 million next fiscal year if the money is available, according to a draft plan CPRA’s director presented Friday to the board.

Of that total, $633 million, or 71%, would be spent on construction. Other uses involve planning, design, maintenance and general operation costs. Estimated spending totals $930 million the following fiscal year and $1 billion the year after that.

CPRA does not receive money from the state's general fund, but it is eligible for surplus dollars when they’re available. Other sources include state mineral taxes, revenue from offshore energy exploration and fines related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

CPRA has scheduled online public meetings for Monday-Wednesday and will accept public comments through March 27 before delivering the plan to the Louisiana Legislature for consideration during the session that begins April 12.

Laurie Cormier, a CPRA board member who is the coastal zone manager for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, said she was upset so much of the planned work was focused on southeast and south central Louisiana rather than the southwest. She noted her region took the brunt of last year’s record-breaking hurricane season and said more protection is needed.

“We are not OK over here right now,” she said. “Somebody is going to have to fight for southwest Louisiana.”

CPRA Chairman Chip Kline assured Cormier her region was a priority, although a number of its projects have not reached the construction stage. He said $260 million in oil spill money is earmarked for southwest Louisiana.

Kline also said he has been working with the state’s congressional delegation in trying to secure funding for $2 billion in already authorized work.

“Many of your projects that are currently in planning or engineering and design will hopefully be moving to construction,” Kline said. “Your comments are certainly not lost on us.”

Virtual public hearings will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Links are available at CPRA’s website.

Written comments will be accepted through March 27 by emailing coastal@la.gov, or vial U.S. mail to CPRA 2022 Annual Plan, 150 Terrace Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. For more information, call 225-342-7308.

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