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Permit process change needed to restore La. wetlands

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Written by
Mike Hasten
mhasten@gannett.com

From: The Town Talk.com

 

 

BATON ROUGE — The Mississippi River is the key element in restoring Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, restoration advocates say, but with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit process taking years to get anything approved, a new system is needed.

“We have to fundamentally re-manage the river,” said Garret Graves, chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Graves is hoping the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force created by President Barack Obama will help change the way the corps manages the Mississippi River.

By taking years to make a decision on a project that could halt erosion and begin wetlands replacement “the Corps of Engineers is making themselves less and less relevant. It would take congressional intervention to fix the Corps of Engineers” process, Graves said in a speech at the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.

The value of Louisiana’s coast to the rest of the nation is proven every time a hurricane hits the coast and most recently when the BP oil spill shut down drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, he said.

Sidney Coffee, senior advisor to the America’s Wetlands Foundation, agrees with Graves that “we need a total change in the process.”

“The process is extremely cumbersome,” Coffee said. “It doesn’t serve well in a place like Louisiana, which is basically an emergency … It needs to be a comprehensive approach on the federal side and that’s not what we’ve had, ever.

“The process has to be fixed,” she said.

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Written by demon53

July 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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