Today, at the direction of Gov. John Bel Edwards, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Board Chairman Johnny Bradberry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with several federal agencies that implements a two-year permitting timeline for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project and sets a framework for establishing discipline and accountability in the environmental review and authorization process in accordance with the guidance from President Trump’s Executive Order 13807.

The MOU signing comes one year after the White House Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council approved, at Gov. Edwards’ request, the inclusion of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project for permit prioritization.

“I am committed to an aggressive, comprehensive and coordinated strategy to address the urgent decline of Louisiana’s coast, an ongoing emergency that requires swift national attention,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is a monumental achievement, with Louisiana showing the entire nation what can happen when we work together.”

Provisions in the MOU include:

  1. State and federal agencies will work cooperatively toward modifying the permitting timeline for the Mid-Barataria project to be consistent with the two-year timeline incorporated in President Trump’s recent executive order.
  2. Reconfirms the state’s position with regard to the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion: “The State is committed to developing the Project in an environmentally sound manner and in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.”
  3. Details provisions for resolving disputes among agencies to help achieve the two year permitting timeline.

“CPRA knows that we have to do big things to change the trajectory of our coast and permitting and constructing Mid-Barataria has long been seen as the first big test of that agenda. Today, this MOU signals that the federal regulatory agencies are going to be working with us to implement this project on an expedited timeline. We couldn’t be happier,” said Chairman Bradberry.

The Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion project is a major coastal restoration project that will have lasting benefits and provide for the long-term sustainability of Louisiana’s coast. This project will return Mississippi River sediment to the coastal wetlands to rebuild land that has been lost and to offset the subsidence of coastal wetlands that is occurring every day. The state intends to pay for this $1.3 billion project with some of the funds the state received from its settlement of its damage claims against BP following the major oil spill that occurred in 2010. 

Click here to read the MOU (signatures in progress).