Scalise: Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Funding Included In House Bill
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced July 23 that he has secured $1.5 million in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies subcommittee bill for deepening the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel. This funding will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete environmental compliance and update the overall cost and dredge material disposal plans so the construction phase of the project can begin.
Dredging the Port Fourchon Channel will reduce the transportation cost of servicing offshore energy development out of Port Fourchon, promote future energy development and production and allow for greater vessel access to Louisiana’s ports and waterways, Scalise’s office said in a press release.
“I am proud to have secured important funding for Port Fourchon in the Energy and Water bill,” Scalise said. “Port Fourchon is a hub of economic activity for our nation, servicing nearly 20 percent of America’s domestically produced oil and natural gas and generating billions of dollars annually for Louisiana. Deepening the Port Fourchon Belle Passe Channel will accommodate larger vessels so they can better navigate our waterways and conduct repair work at the port. Once complete, this project will strengthen Louisiana’s position as a leading export state and a top producer of our nation’s oil and natural gas.”
“Keeping Port Fourchon up and running is key to not only our local economy but the state and our nation as a whole,” said Archie Chiasson, president of Lafourche Parish. “To make that a reality, keeping the correct depth in the navigation channel is critical to keeping commerce moving in and out of the Gulf.”
Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC), said, “The Greater Lafourche Port Commission is pleased to learn of the inclusion in the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations legislation $1.5 million for the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening project and $6.185 million for yearly operations and maintenance dredging of the federal channels at Port Fourchon. Last year, upon the completion of Port Fourchon’s Feasibility Study examining deepening of the harbor, Congress authorized the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening project, which will allow the Corps of Engineers to deepen the federal channels at Port Fourchon to a depth of -30 feet. The federal funding in this appropriations bill for the channel deepening project will enable the Corps to commence with the final design and construction phases of this project.
“Furthermore, inclusion in this bill of $6.186 million for yearly operations and maintenance dredging at the port will ensure that yearly maintenance needs and unexpected dredging actions from coastal storms will be adequately funded, preventing the need for the GLPC to supplement Corps funding, as happened this past fiscal year. Added to the economic benefit from these appropriations will be significant environmental and coastal restoration benefits, as all of the associated dredging will utilize beneficial use disposal options. We … look forward to House passage of the bill and similar results in the upcoming Senate legislation.”